The itsy-bitsy spider hard at work

Sunday, April 4, 2010
Photo by Aaron Horrell

A small spider's web covered in heavy dew gave me pause on an early morning.

Drawn initially only to the dew-covered web, I took a few photos before noticing the small spider hard at work.

It was not building a web. Instead it was collecting the dew from the web strands with its leg hairs and depositing the tiny droplets onto its back. As more tiny droplets were added to the drop on the spider's back, that drop would grow until it was almost the same size as the little spider. Then gravity would overtake the drop and it would fall to the ground.

This spider's web encompassed an area only about 10 inches in diameter and the spider itself had a body length of only about three-eighths of an inch.

Watching this small spider clearing its web of dew was an amazing sight.

I had always assumed that the sunshine and wind would rid spider webs of morning dew. Now I know the admirable work ethic of this small creature.

The spider knew that its web would catch and hold no prey if it was laden in dew, so he (or she) took care of it.

@body_no_indent italics:Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell. Find this column at semissourian.com to order a reprint of the photo.

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