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The Curious Webspinner Insect Knits a Cozy Home | Deep Look

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 Biology   |   Environmental   |   Science
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To protect herself and her eggs, female webspinners shoot super-fine silk from their front feet. They weave the strands to build a shelter that serves as a tent, umbrella and invisibility cloak. But shooting silk from her feet requires her to moonwalk to get around.

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DEEP LOOK is a ultra-HD (4K) short video series created by KQED San Francisco and presented by PBS Digital Studios. See the unseen at the very edge of our visible world. Explore big scientific mysteries by going incredibly small.
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With the holidays just around the corner, its that time of year when youre ready to burn off Thanksgiving turkey and Christmas cookie calories by heading outdoors for a hike. Maybe youve noticed what looks like spider webs woven in between weeds alongside the trail, or poking out from under rocks or draped across logs.

But take a closer look those webs might actually not be spider webs. A lot of them are silken habitats, known as 'galleries,' created by insects called webspinners.

---+ Read the entire article on KQED Science:

https://www.kqed.org/science/1949380/

--- Where do webspinners live?
You find them living in a variety of habitats all over the world, from humid tropical rain forests to dry, hotter areas.

--- Do only adults spin silk?
Actually, everybody spins silk, the males, females and the nymphs. Its completely unique for insects to have that ability.

--- Who is briefly featured in the episode turning over the log?
While only her hands make a short cameo in the video, Janice Edgerly-Rooks, is a professor of biology at Santa Clara University. Shes been studying these insects for most of her career and was invaluable to us in the production of our episode.

---+ For more information:
Janice Edgerly-Rooks at Santa Clara University
https://www.scu.edu/cas/biology/faculty/edgerly-rooks/

---+ More Great Deep Look episodes:

Its a Bugs Life: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLdKlciEDdCQA1MVDuyxZPVloYV3wpunMO

---+ Shoutout!

Congratulations to the following fans on our YouTube community tab for correctly identifying the insects *besides webspinners* that produce silk with their front feet: the balloon flies of the Empididae family, such as Hilara maura.

Joo Farminho
TheWhiteScatterbug
Ryan Stuart
Anthony Nguyen
henry chu
biozcw

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---+ About KQED

KQED, an NPR and PBS affiliate in San Francisco, CA, serves Northern California and beyond with a public-supported alternative to commercial TV, Radio and web media.

Funding for Deep Look is provided in part by PBS Digital Studios. Deep Look is a project of KQED Science, which is also supported by the National Science Foundation, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, the Vadasz Family Foundation, the Fuhs Family Foundation, Campaign 21 and the members of KQED.

#webspinners #insect #deeplook

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