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Web Collaboration, of Sorts Answered

No, not the World Wide Web--colonies of spiders that build giant communal webs to catch their prey. However, there is an interesting twist: spiders maximize their food supply per spider if the colony includes 500 spiders; more than that, and each spider gets less.

As the number of occupants grows, the volume of the webs they construct increases - but the surface-area-to-volume ratio declines. The area of web is the all-important determinant of numbers of prey caught, so bigger colonies catch proportionally fewer prey items.

Reminds me of Dunbar's Number, the theory that says that groups of larger than approximately 150 people are no longer optimal because humans cannot effectively have and maintain that many social relationships.

Spider Webs Article

Discussions

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Plasmana

10 years ago

Wow! That is a big old web!

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PlasmanaPlasmana

Reply 10 years ago

The web in the picture look a bit like a waterfall...

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Lithium Rain

10 years ago

:-(


*shudder*

I have a spider phobia! I thought the picture was of a waterfall!

Thanks for the nightmares!

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PlasmanaLithium Rain

Reply 10 years ago

Lol! Same thing happened to me! (But, I am not scared of spiders).

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Firebert010Lithium Rain

Reply 10 years ago

I thought it was a waterfall at first as well. Arachnophobia.

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randofo

10 years ago

I wonder what Dunbar has to say about your Facebook page.

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joshfrandofo

Reply 10 years ago

I think he'd be very impressed; unfortunately, he wouldn't be able to see because I rejected his friend request.

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n8man

10 years ago

Is this in Texas because I heard about the web a few months ago

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purduecern8man

Reply 10 years ago

everything's bigger in Texas, so it must include spider webs as well :-P

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joshfn8man

Reply 10 years ago

The article mentions that the research was done in Ecuador, but I think the communal spider concept is widespread--so there could very easily be some of them in Texas.

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n8manjoshf

Reply 10 years ago

The one in texas was huge and made by cowboy spiders. It was also brown because of all of the mosquitos were caught in it.

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Fizzxwizz

10 years ago

Cool picture! I wonder if Charlotte had anything to with that web. Hey! where did little Billy go? He was here just a second ago!

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Rishnai

10 years ago

If I were in there, I'd consider it pretty darn World Wide... That is awesome!
and I'm gad it doesn't include my house...

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Kiteman

10 years ago

Anybody read Wyndam's Web?