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Silk architecture

The most difficult part of building the web is the first strand, which forms a bridge between the two poles. The spider makes the bridge by releasing a length of sticky thread and kiting—letting the thread blow in the breeze. With a bit of luck, it will catch on another object. When the spider feels the thread catch onto something, it pulls it tight and attaches it to the starting point.

Next the spider walks the high wire, using special claws to grip the thread. As the spider does so, it releases a slack thread beneath the bridge thread. With the slack thread attached to the other side, the spider usually climbs back to the middle of it, lowers itself, and attaches the thread to some object to form a Y-shape. This strategy does not work between the poles, so the spider has to attach it to a spot lower on the pole, either by kiting or by climbing down the pole.

When the difficult main support structure of the web is in place, the spider can complete the frame, add radius threads from the frame to the center of the web, and create a spiral from the center to the frame.

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