The familiar spiral web of orb-weaving spiders is simultaneously a key evolutionary milestone, an engineering marvel, and a work of art. Surprising new research suggests that this seemingly complex design has been repurposed, and may even have been wholly reinvented in different spider groups, over 140 million years of evolution. Combining specimens from the Harvard collection, stunning photography, and multimedia technology, Orb-Weavers: Masters of the Spider World is a small, special exhibit in the Arthropods Gallery that examines the evolution of the orb web and explores how capture strategies used by its arachnid builders have shaped web design.
This project was made possible through a grant from the National Science Foundation.
For more information, visit the press release.