Today I had the privilege of witnessing an extraordinary sight – a garden spider repairing its intricate web. As I was walking along the edge of Tuff Pond in Oklahoma’s beautiful Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge, I spotted one of these impressive arachnids hard at work.
Garden spiders are abundant in this part of the refuge, with around 5 individuals spotted within just 10 steps of each other. But this particular spider caught my eye as it meticulously reinforced its web, using its spinnerets to lay new silk threads.
These orb weaver spiders are true artisans, building symmetrical wheel-shaped webs up to 2 feet wide. Their silk is incredibly strong yet flexible, able to absorb the impact of flying insects without breaking. As the web’s creator, the spider must regularly repair any damage, keeping it in flawless shape to trap prey.
Watching this spider delicately mend torn sections and replace worn threads, I was amazed by the intricate choreography. The spider seemed to test each filament, then add reinforcements with careful precision. I was witnessing the remodeling of a true masterpiece, spun from the spider’s own body.
Garden spider webs are engineering marvels, reflecting the remarkable instincts and capabilities of these crafty arachnids. Their intricate designs and strong, flexible silk point to these spiders being uniquely equipped by nature to build such elaborate traps. As an emerging wildlife photographer, I feel honored to document these ancient hunters and their extraordinary handiwork. Moments like these reveal nature’s ingenuity, reminding me there are endless wonders yet to explore through my camera lens.
Steve Creek, Wildlife Photographer
- Camera: Canon EOS R5
- Lens: Canon RF 100-500 mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
- Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
- Date and Time Taken: August 16, 2023 (07:26 A. M.)
- Program: Manual
- Aperture: f8
- Shutter speed: 1/320
- ISO: 8000 (Auto)
- Exp. Comp.: 0
- Focal Length: 500 mm