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 Comments

  1. this insect produces silk from his front legs therefore spiderman is more similar to a webspinner than to an actual spider

  2. 3:44 🎵 You're a real fast insect, when you back that thing up
    Call me webspinner, when I back that thing up
    Girl, who is you weaving with?, back that thing up

  3. this insect is cute! Like it doesn't do any harm it has cool webs it always is just chilin in its home minding it's own business

  4. Oh!! That's what the web near my home belongs to!
    I couldn't figure out what type of spider couldve built it because it looked more like a tarantula nest, and there are webspinners here. Really cool episode!

  5. Narrator: they are related to stick insects and praying mantises.
    Praying Mantis at 0:37 looks at the camera: What are you talking about ?

  6. Considering the thickness of the silk, idk how many silks or time it would take to make it visible or look like a thread

  7. Spider pig, Spider pig…does what ever a spider pig does, can he swing from a web…no he cant he's a pig look out he is a spider pig

  8. Is it me or is this the only insect that is cute, and makes all other insects seem cute!!😊😄
    Thumbs up for the channel as it is what makes me feel like insects are amazing!!!😆

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