16. Plant Wrapped in Spider Web, Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington.jpg

Plant Wrapped in Spider Web, Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington

Summers in western Washington State challenge the usual perception of the Pacific Northwest as a perpetually cool, wet place. The weather is warm and dry from Independence Day to Labor Day. Perfect for building spider webs so that by the end of August, they abound everywhere in the forests, including this park near Seattle.

Some plants become enveloped by cobwebs. And very different types of spiders can produce them, the smallest being a spider mite. Others, such as the Sierra Dome Spider, craft tent-shaped nets like the kind shown here. That said, with over 50,000 spider species and innumerable types of web architecture, there is a wide range of styles of arachnid weaving.

This plant provided a framework around which the spider built three or four layers of netting, extruding silk-like threads to create a complex structure known as a tangle-web design. Though this cobweb managed to snare dead leaves and debris, ultimately, it aimed to feed and protect the spider and its eggs from predators.

- James Baker