Los Angeles Times:The architecture of the spider web, not just the chemical makeup of the silk, determines what type of prey spiders catch, according to a study published in Nature Communications. Researchers studied cobweb-spinning spiders, which build three-dimensional webs, as opposed to orb-spinning spiders, which build 2D webs. They found key differences in the technique used to secure the web lines. If the spider is targeting an insect that can fly, it uses scaffolding silk and what the paper’s authors call a “staple-pin” architecture to construct a web that is strong enough to capture and hold the airborne prey. For crawling insects, spiders use a “dendritic” architecture that resembles a spring-loaded trap: Silk strands are stretched taut like spokes on a wheel but are weakly anchored to the ground, so that when an insect walks into them, it becomes ensnared, the anchoring strands break free, and the insect is pulled off the ground and into the web.