The Curious Webspinner Insect Knits a Cozy Home | Deep Look

The Curious Webspinner Insect Knits a Cozy Home | Deep Look


Ok, under a log, you uncover a wispy white web. You’re thinking: spider. Not so fast. This maze of woven silk has nothing to do
with arachnids. It’s actually created by a kind of insect
called a webspinner. They’re related to stick insects and praying
mantises. Never heard of ’em? Not surprised. They give spiders a run for their money. Their handiwork is a tent … umbrella … and
invisibility cloak all-in-one. But while spiders produce silk from their
backends, a webspinner’s silk comes from her feet. Yep, her front feet. She intertwines the strands, waving back and
forth, back and forth. She has tiny hair-like ejectors on the bottom
of each foot, which shoot out the silk. It’s the thinnest silk of any animal. The work is painstaking. But the result is pretty cozy – kinda like
a quilted roof. Their home – also known as a gallery – is their
only defense, hiding their soft bodies from predators. There’s also plenty of moss and lichen to
eat inside. So why leave? And if they need to do some housekeeping,
it’s easy to take out the trash. They just stick it to the roof … and forget
about it. The silk also keeps out something they really
like to avoid: rain. Webspinners can easily drown if a downpour
floods their gallery. Luckily, they’ve got exceptional weather-proofing. Water just beads up on the silk’s surface,
like on a rose petal. And that water actually changes the silk,
making the surface more slippery by transforming the proteins. So it becomes extra waterproof. But having silk-slinging front feet has a
downside. Say an unwanted visitor comes along. If they want to get away, webspinners have
to tiptoe to avoid triggering their silk ejectors. Not exactly the fastest runner. So to get away, webspinners dart … backwards,
to avoid getting tangled up. They’re much faster in reverse. Small price to pay for the ability to weave
an entire hidden world. One that will keep the webspinners – and
their young – safe … for generations to come. Hi, it’s Lauren. Music fans – here’s a special playlist for
ya of Deep Look creatures that make music of their own. Also, check out Sound Field, a new show from
PBS Digital Studios that breaks down our favorite songs and artists from all genres … from
Bach to Beyonce. It’s hosted by two amazing musicians, Nahre
Soul and LA Buckner, who even come up with an original song in every episode. Link is in the description. Thanks.

100 thoughts on “The Curious Webspinner Insect Knits a Cozy Home | Deep Look

  1. What a fascinating and adorable little creature! That part about the web becoming fortified by water is amazing. Thanks for another incredible episode Deep Look 😀

  2. This is the 1st time i have seen insect as CUTE!!! This guy soo cute i wish we could get a bigger version one as pet… ….

  3. I feel like this could be some sort of Mandela Effect situation. How can I be nearly 40 years old and never have heard of an insect that not only spins webs, but can do so out of its legs??

  4. I can not understand that evolution has managed to (by accident) created these spinning legs, and then managed to do it exactly the same on the left and the right legs. Can that really be only by accident?

  5. So basically, putting all you evolutionpoints in in one special ability that causes a buff in stealth but also a debuff to mobility, and forsaking any other stat like strenght, defence or hitpoints. Not very meta.

  6. This is the closest to Spiderman’s power. He should be renamed Webspinnerman!
    Webspinnerman, Webspinnerman!
    Does whatever a Webspinner can!

    Also, can you actually imagine Spiderman shooting his web from his derrière?

  7. Since spiderman can shoot webs from his hands instead from his backside, he should be actually called Webspinnerman, then.

  8. What do spiders do with their butts, silk worms with their mouths and webspinners with their feet?

    Produce silk . Oh the diversity!

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