San Francisco pet store

Never again will spider's webs scare me after my experience in a San Francisco pet store where they help relieve me of a life long fear. Spider silk is a fibrous protein that is secreted as a fluid and forms a polymer, on being stretched, that is much stronger than steel and further resists breakage by its elasticity. A single spider can spin several kinds of silk. Although some other invertebrates also spin silk, spiders put this ability to the most spectacular variety of uses. For example, they form draglines that help them to find their way about and to catch themselves if they fall. Small and, especially, young spiders spin a "parachute" thread that enables them to be carried by the wind, sometimes for hundreds of kilometers. The males use silk in transferring sperm to the palpal organ, and the females make cocoons with it. Silk is also used to make nests and other chambers and to line burrows. The most familiar and amazing use of silk by many species, however, is in making insect traps called spider webs. Once prey is caught in such a web, the spider may wrap it in more silk. Besides the web spinners, many spiders hunt for their food or lie in wait for it. Hunters tend to rely on vision if they feed during the daytime or on touch if they feed at night. Jumping spiders may lurk in ambush for their prey, and a number of them are well camouflaged on flowers by color or body structure or both. The simplest webs are irregular and generally laid out along the ground. More advanced webs, particularly of orb-weaver spiders, are highly intricate, raised above the ground, and oriented to intercept the paths of flying insects. The spinning itself is a complex process involving the placement and then removal of scaffolding spirals and a combination of sticky and non-sticky strands. In some cases a number of spiders will form a kind of communal web, but spiders in general are not social.

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