Webs, A Wonder of Planning
As well as their qualities, such as strength and elasticity,
and their practical benefits, spiders' webs are a wonder of architecture
The spider web is made up of load-bearing frame threads
and spiral capturing threads laid over these and coated with a sticky
substance, as well as threads binding all the threads together.
The spiral coated sticky threads are not completely tied to the
scaffolding threads. In this way the more an insect caught in the
web struggles, the more it gets stuck to the web. As the capturing
threads stick all over the insect, they gradually lose their elasticity,
both growing stronger and stiffening. In this way the insect is
trapped and immobilised, and can be violently cut up. After this
the prey, held by the unyielding scaffolding threads, like a wrapped-up,
living food parcel, has no alternative but to wait for the spider
to come and deal the final blow.
There is no creature on the earth
which is not dependent upon God for its provision. He knows
where it lives and where it dies. They are all in a Clear
(Surah Hud: 6)
The Web's Shock Absorbency
order for spiders' webs to be an effective trap, it is not enough
for them to be adhesive or to be made of threads with different
characteristics. For example the web must be designed in such a
way as to catch insects in flight. If we compare the insect caught
in the web to a guided missile, just stopping the insect will not
be sufficient. The prey caught in the web must be rendered immobile,
so that the spider can come and examine and bite it. Catching a
missile and immobilising it is no easy task.
The threads which make up the web are at the
same time both strong and elastic. But the level of elasticity of
the web is different in different areas. This elasticity is important
for these reasons:
- If the level of elasticity of the threads were
less than required, an insect flying into the web would bounce back
the way it had come, as if hitting a hard spring.
- If the elasticity of the threads were more
than required, the insect would over-stretch the web, the sticky
threads would adhere to each other and the web would lose its shape.
- The effect of the wind has also been allowed
for in calculating the threads' elasticity. Thus a web stretched
by the wind can resume its previous form.
- The level of elasticity is also important in
relation to what the web is attached to. For instance, if it is
attached to a plant, the elasticity has to be able to absorb any
movement caused by the plant.
The spiral woven capturing threads lie very close
to one another. The smallest swing could stick the capturing threads
to each other, opening wide gaps in the trapping field. That is
why the high-elasticity, sticky capturing threads are laid over
dry, low-elasticity threads. This is a precaution against potential
escape holes being formed.
As we have seen, a miraculous structure can be
observed in every feature of the web. Every possibility has been
thought of. This reveals once more the senselessness of the theory
of evolution. It is, of course, impossible for changes which came
about by coincidence to teach a spider to make the shock-absorbing
properties of the web. It is God Who gave the spider this capacity,
Who enabled it to display purposeful behaviour.
He is God – the Creator, the Maker, the Giver
of Form. To Him belong the Most Beautiful Names. Everything in the
heavens and earth glorifies Him. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise.
(Surat al-Hashr: 24)
Three-dimensional webs have a much more complicated
structure than two-dimensional ones. These webs are complicated
three-dimensional structures, as opposed to being in just one plane.
This type of web resembles a pile of woollen balls. For this reason
it is harder to manage than the two-dimensional one. If small insects
and parasites that are not worth the spider's bother get caught
in the web, then the spider has more work to do. For this reason
the spider chooses to make its web in places where there are no
visitors of this kind.
spider which uses this kind of web is the Black Widow. Inside the
web of this spider, with its architectural mastery, there is also
a mechanical trap. This trap forms a dense and sticky area. This
web ball is tied to the ground with not particularly strong threads.
As soon as a moving creature gets stuck to the web ball, the threads
break, and the ball comes free of the ground. Shortly afterwards,
the spider pulls the trap up, right into the three-dimensional web,
and kills its motionless prey.
Spider webs possess faultless planning in every way.
We must carefully examine the plan of the three-dimensional
trap and the method employed by the spider, because there is clearly
intelligence in the planning of the web. With or without a mechanical
trap, the same method is used in three-dimensional webs to slow
down the prey in its flight. These are specially woven in the framework
of a plan with a large number of weak threads. Once the insect gets
caught up, these weak threads snap. At that point, because the insect's
movement energy goes into snapping the threads, its speed is reduced.
Then the capturing threads catch the writhing insect.
Of course the spider did not learn all by itself
to spin this web—which works according to a flawless plan—after
a so-called period of evolution. Like other living creatures, spiders
follow God's command. God, the Compassionate and Merciful has announced
this in the holy verse "…everything in
the heavens and earth, willingly or unwillingly, submits to Him
and to Him they will be returned." (Surat Ali 'Imran: 83)
Linyphia spiders spin webs in the form of hammocks
(the white area at bottom). The web is attached to plants by threads
at the top and bottom. Insects which get caught on the threads at
the top, fall inside. (Left) Some three-dimensional webs have a dome-like
construction. The spider can definitely identify even a small insect
caught in this complicated construction by the vibrations it gives
Managing the Web
Spiders' webs need constant management, because
the spiral sticky part may be damaged by rain or by prey struggling
to escape. Furthermore, dust sticking to the web may destroy the
stickiness of the spiral threads.
The spiders put designs like zig zags on the tops of their
webs to prevent birds tearing them.
A web may, depending on where
it is, lose the properties which enable it to catch insects in a
very short time – 24 hours even. For this reason the web is periodically
torn down and re-built. The spider eats and digests the threads
of the web it is tearing down. It will use the amino acids in the
threads it digests to build a new web.31
That part of the web which is eaten, and the
time, differs according to the species of spider. Garden spiders,
for example, do not touch the frame of the web, but just eat the
radius of the web and the sticky spirals.
Tropical spiders construct their webs in darkness
and eat them at dawn. Spiders in temperate regions eat their webs
at night and build new ones for the day, because in these regions
there are not as many night insects as there are in tropical regions.
For this reason it is essential for the webs to be up throughout
Building Webs to Suit the Prey
Spiders weave their webs to suit the size of
the creatures they wish to hunt. The South American spider, for
example, weaves a web with narrow openings that enable more easily
to catch the white ants which come out to seek new nests in September.
When it wants to hunt an insect such as a large butterfly it widens
the openings and increases the web's strength and elasticity.
The angle of webs is also changed depending on
the sort of prey that is expected to be caught (flying, walking,
crawling, etc.). This both lessens damage and increases the trapping
Warning to Birds and Camouflage
Spiders tend to build their webs, which are so
valuable to them, in quiet places. The reason for this is to prevent
them being destroyed by animals or natural conditions. Spiders use
most interesting methods to protect their webs. One of the most
interesting of these is to be seen in the web of the Central American
Argiope spider. These spiders place shiny white zig-zag markings
on their webs. These markings are warnings to birds, reminding them
not to venture inside the web. The spiders also use these markings
to hide behind. The spider waits behind these markings and in this
way prevents the prey from seeing it.
Models Inspired by Spiders' Webs
The roof of the Munich Olympic Stadium was inspired by
spider webs. In this way the various tensions are evenly distributed
over the roof.
Nowadays one very popular method of making industrial
plans is to use examples from nature. That is because models in
nature are flawless in every way. Inter alia, energy-saving properties,
aesthetic qualities, flawless practicality, and the manoeuvrability
essential to a plan already exist in perfect form in nature. Models
which man produces with his own capabilities and the knowledge gleaned
over long years and as a result of difficult processes, do not generally
go beyond being poor imitations of their counterparts in nature.
This can be easily seen when we compare these imitations with nature's
Spiders are one of the living creatures taken
as an example. For instance, the web of the crested, or dew spider
is quite perfect from the aesthetic and engineering point of view.
These spiders make their webs at a horizontal angle, in such a way
as to make them resemble a sheet, on meadow grasses. Using upright
blades as load-bearers, they distribute the overall weight of the
Man has copied this method in order to cover
large areas. The Munich Olympic Stadium and Jeddah Airport terminal,
often quoted as examples of modern architecture, were built using
these spiders' webs as an example.
Spiders have been using these models, which man
has produced by imitation, all over the world since they first emerged.
Of course a fair degree of engineering knowledge is needed for such
models to emerge and to be put into practice. But spiders know nothing
about either construction engineering or architectural planning,
having received no such training. They, like other living creatures,
behave only in accordance with the inspiration given to them from
birth by God. This is the only cause of their architectural wonders.
God reveals in a verse that all living creatures are under His control.
An underwater village project
inspired by the web of the freshwater spider. For its survival the
spider carries the necessary air and food into its waterproof web.
In the underwater houses, glass is designed to be used instead of
the web. (Left) Bell-shaped bird cages in Munich, inspired by the
technique employed by the raft spider in building its web (Right).
That is God, your Lord. There is no god but
Him, the Creator of everything. So worship Him. He is responsible
for everything. (Surat al-An'am: 102)
31- Bilim ve Teknik Görsel
Bilim ve Teknik Ansiklopedisi (Science and Technology Gorsel Science
and Technology Encyclopedia), p. 1090