Garden Spider or Cross Orbweaver -Araneus diadematus- sitting on a net with morning dew, Duvenstedter Brook nature reserve, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
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Spiders foot, SEM
Spider's foot. Coloured scanning electron micrograph of the foot of a garden orb spider (Araneus diadematus). This common spider builds a large web that it uses to catch flying insects. The arrangement of claws on its feet allows the spider to walk as easily on the sticky threads as it does on the ground. The two large grey claws (upper left) are used for walking on hard surfaces. When walking on its web, the spider traps a strand between the sharply-hooked brown claw (centre left) and the curved hairs (orange, lower left). When it releases a thread, the curved hairs push it away from the foot, preventing it sticking. Magnification: x287 at 6x7cm size.
© POWER AND SYRED/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Web of spider exposed to caffeine
Effect of caffeine on spiders. Computer artwork of the orb web of a garden spider (Araneus diadematus) exposed to caffeine. Caffeine is a plant alkaloid found naturally in foods such as coffee beans, tea, kola nuts and cacao beans. A normal orb web consists of radiating threads and a sticky spiral hub (see Z430/519). A spider fed on caffeine-dosed flies produces an erratic and incomplete web, with many parts completely absent. Originally published in NASA Tech Briefs, April 1995.
© NASA/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY