This article was originally posted on Exchanged Life in 1999. It has some fascinating information about God’s design revealed in spiders.
Spiders are a fascinating creation. I cannot see how any evolutionist can look at spiders and maintain evolutionary views. My hope is that after viewing these pages, you will see the signature of God in creation as well.
I find this the most amazing trait of spiders. I believe mimicking defies evolution. Adopting foreign habits and looks goes far beyond adaptation. It is not a skill necessary for survival, but it is a valuable tool. These ant mimicking spiders look amazingly like the ants they search out for food. Other spiders and insects are attacked on sight, however these creatures are a close enough match to go ignored, thus allowing the spider to get close enough to the nest for easy pickings. They also have movement imitations as well. They wave their front legs so they simulate antlers movement and they also bob their tail in a similar fashion to natural movements of the ant as well.
The above jumping spider (called Orsima formica) mimics the mutillid wasp below. The long spinnerets in the tail imitate the wasp’s antennas and the colored abdomen appear to simulate the wasp’s tail. The spider’s head is green for camouflage.
The following spiders have some very unusual skills. It was once believed that these spiders created visible patterns in the web to prevent birds from accidentally damaging the web. Modern research has a new discovery. Clear webs are poor reflectors of ultraviolet light. Research has found that these spiders’ webs have patterns that simulate the ultraviolet light reflections of certain flowers. The ultraviolet patterns draw insects to the web and increase the chances of successfully catching a meal.
It is not logical to think that these spiders gained these skills by the evolutionary process. Knowledge was necessary to create an interdependence. Ant mimicking spiders were interdependent on ants that they mimic. Both had to be present when the spider was designed or the mimic was useless. Because insects decompose quickly, insect fossils are very rare. Fossils exist that date spiders earlier than the supposed evolution of the flying insect. The evidence does not support this concept. The same holds true for ultraviolet reflecting web building spiders. They must have been designed with knowledge of the spider, the web to catch airborne insects, understanding of the insects they prey upon and knowledge of the flowers they simulate. Likewise with defensive mimicking of the mutillid wasp. These discouraging color patterns must have been designed with the birds and other predators that would recognize these patterns as well as knowledge of the wasp itself. Evolution is a much bigger leap of faith than creation.
How Spiders Hunt
Spiders baffle the evolutionary theorist with their specialized hunting styles. The eyes of a jumping spider give it a 360 degree panoramic view. It’s keen vision give it perfect accuracy when it leaps toward a moving or stationary prey. Some spiders stalk, some wait and ambush, some create webs and wait. I want to take a closer look at a few of the more fascinating styles of spider hunting.
The American cowboy wasn’t the first to make a living off the lasso. The Bola spider catches its prey by creating a poison sticky mixture and attaching it to a web. It then throws it’s lasso at an insect who flies into the spider’s range. Some Bola spiders produce a pheromone which attracts insects to her dinner party.
Crab spiders are amazing creatures. They come in many colors. They hide from predators and ambush prey by hiding on a flower of their color. They can remarkably resemble the color of a flower or plant. They often lay motionless on a flower waiting for an insect to land. Their long legs give them plenty of range to grab their prey.
The net-throwing spider is an amazing creation. This spider creates a small web that it uses as a net to toss on a passing insect. Even more remarkably, many species have the ability to create pheromones that simulate the mating scent of a moth. This attracts a male moth into its range so it can net it.
Fisher Spiders are also fascinating. They are able to stand on the water because their legs and feet are designed to create surface tension. Surface tension prevents friction so they run by pushing the dimples created by the surface tension. The dimples create resistance and puts them in motion. They also have a few other amazing characteristics. They can easily dive below the surface of calm waters. They create webs below the surface and carry bubbles of air down to create a breathable climate. Fisher spiders feed on small fish, insects and other pond life. To catch fish, they thrust a leg below the surface and when a curiosity draws a small fish, they dive and catch it.
Web spitting spiders (Scytodes thoricica). This spider sneaks very carefully towards its prey and at about 10 mm distance it stops and carefully measures the distance to its prey with one front leg without disturbing it. Then it squeezes the back of its body together and spits two poisonous silk threads, in 1/600 sec, in a zigzag manner over the victim. The prey is immediately immobilized. When the prey is larger the spider spits several times.
The pattern of design echoes from each species of spider. The skill to lasso does not fit the evolutionary model. There is no room for trial and error. If a species could evolve, unless every mechanism was in place, it would have quickly died. The Bola spider had to have fully developed vision, coordination to throw the lasso, perfect depth perception, and the ability to calculate the flight pattern of a moving insect. Not to mention the ability to produce the mixture of glue, poison and a pheromone to create the lasso. Logic drives us to conclude that evolution would have used the first successful mechanism. Of course, evolution also cannot explain the knowledge of the genetic code to make that mechanism. With all the odors in the air, how did the spider know which odor the female moth uses to attract males? How did the spider gain the knowledge to reproduce this odor? How did the Fisher spider know that fish would respond to its lure? Evolution requires more faith than it takes to believe creation.
Below are three species of trap door spiders and their style of defensive protection.
Example 1 belongs to an Australian trap door spider called Stanwellia nebulosa. It creates a burrow with a balanced pebble that it pulls down during a retreat if it is attacked.
Example 2 is also Australian. It is called Lampropodus iridescens. It creates a side shaft with a trap door that it pulls closed if it has to retreat from an attacker.
Example 3 is the Australian Dekana. It digs two exits. One exit is the main burrow. The second exit is a trap door covered with loose debris. The debris disguises the burrow but is loose enough to allow the spider to easily push through and escape from an attacker.
Another unique trap door spider not pictured here is the American Cyclocosmia truncata. It has a simple burrow but the spider has a flat armor plated abdomen that fits snugly against the walls of the burrow giving it a natural shield if attacked.
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Ero pirate spiders create hard protective shells out of mud or rocks to protect their eggs. Most of these types of spiders mount their eggs on stalks and cover them with mud that hardens to protect. The South African species has a different approach. They create egg sacs covered with an armor of pebbles and hang it from a thread of web. The below example is similar to a crane bucket and is even equipped with a hook to hold the cross cabling.
This spider hides by mimicking a dried leaf. This protects from predators as well as providing an edge in the hunt for their own food.
Now here is an evolutionary wonder. In the rainforest of Madagascar, the Phyrarachne rugosa hides itself by passing as an almost identical match of the bird droppings of fruit eating birds in the trees it inhabits.
|Evolution, or design? How did the trap door spider gain the knowledge to design a burrow with a balanced pebble sized to cover it’s safety chamber? He is quite an engineer. But not half the engineer that the designer of the crane bucket the African Ero pirate made for her eggs. It baffles the mind to think a spider can evolve itself to the image of a dried leaf, and this idea becomes absurd when you look at a spider disguised as bird droppings. By chance or by design? The design speaks for itself.|
The artwork of web design shows everything but accidental evolution. Orb web weaving spiders create an amazing design of strength, efficiency and beauty. The spider begins by producing a light weight web that is easily caught by the wind and is carried until it anchors itself on an object. Then the spider follows this guide web and spins a strong, thick support thread that will be the corner stone of its web. Then she lays the foundation strands followed by supporting strands for the orb. The orb is then weaved with intricate detail.
A product of evolutionary chance? The faith it takes to believe this is a product of random evolution is even further challenged by the production of the web itself. Lets look at the creation of the strand produced by the spider.
These are the spinnerets magnified under the electron microscope. Each spinneret contains a hollow tube connected to the gland. Spider webs are pound for pound stronger than steel yet is incredibly flexible. One study concluded the strength of a spider web in this way, if a web was produced the width of a pencil, it would have the strength to stop a 747 at full speed. The strength material is measured by a unit called dernier. 1 dernier = 1 g per 9000 m. A spider thread has a value between 5 – 8. This means that the thread will break under its own weight at a length of 45 – 72 km. Steel has a value of approximately 3.
One of the more descriptive commentaries on spider webs I read on a biochemical research company that is actively seeking how to engineer this amazing technology. Here is what they have to say:
Spider silk shows great promise for technological applications and is of tremendous
economical value due to its following extraordinary mechanical properties:
- High tensile strength stronger than steel,
- High extensibility comparable to rubber,
- High capability of water uptake comparable to wool.
The mechanical properties of the dragline from the orb weaver (Nephila clavipes)
is even superior even to the high performance fiber “Kevlar” that is used for bullet-proof vests.
What makes this amazing material? There are seven types of web glands. No spider has all seven. Most spiders have a combination of these glands.
Glandula aggregata produces the sticky material.
Ampulleceae major and minor for the production of the walking threads
Pyriformes for the attaching threads
Aciniformes produces silk for the encapsulation of the prey
Tubiliformes for the silk of the egg-sac
Coronatae threads for the axis of the sticking threads.
Cribellar glands are only found in the cribellate spiders.
Spider silk’s main components are specialized proteins. Not any ole protein would produce this mastery. Three main proteins are found in spider silk.
Pyrolidin – very hygroscopic (water retenative). Pyrodidin prevents the web from drying out.
Potasium hydrogen phosphate – very acidic and acts as a deterrent to bacteria and fungi.
Potassium nitrate – prevents the low pH from causing the proteins to become insoluble.
The proteins are also salted to prevent decay from bacteria and fungi.
Inside the gland of the spider, the protein has a molecular mass of 30,000 Dalton. Once outside the gland, the web polymerizes to a molecule called fibroin and expands to a mass of approximately 300,000 Dalton. Scientist do not understand what activates the polymerization process. The web then takes on its elasticity properties and can be stretched up to 40% before it breaks. Compare this to steel which breaks at 8% and nylon (used in stockings) which breaks at 20%.
Because of the nutrients lost by spinning webs, the orb weaver eats her web to recycle the protein before re-creating her web.
|Consider the facts. There is no logical reasoning that can drive us to evolution for the interdependent design of chemical elements and skill necessary for web design. It takes a knowledgeable designer to understand this process. Out of the hundreds of different proteins, how could chance alone select the three needed for the infallible web design that man has yet to duplicate? This is even more baffling when we consider the natural decay of these proteins and how the spider prevents this by adding anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties to the web. Even the process of dehydration is prevented by this design. It takes more faith to believe in accidental selection than to believe in a Creator’s design.|