Patagonia provided very little wildlife with just spiders and bugs being visible as we stumbled through the forest. This may have been due to our chatting, but more likely that we were so busy looking at the stunning landscape that the small details passed us by. One thing that was obvious was the spiders webs, which were so totally different to the geometric vertical patterns that we see here in the UK. We are used to organised orb webs, spun in a spiral pattern which forms an effective predatory device, catching hundreds of insects in the right conditions.
Electrostatic Horizontal Spider Web
The webs in Patagonia are totally different. A messy random selection of silks, spread between trees, collecting debris as well as a meal for the resident spider. This type of web works in a different way to the orb web, having electrostatic silk rather than sticky silk. Anything passing into the web will be attracted in a similar way to cling film attracting small objects in the wrong place. The webs are also horizontal collecting things as they fall rather than our vertical webs which catch flying insects.
Tunnel spider Web
The other interesting webs were found in the choisya, a white flower that spread across the forest floor. At first glance the plants looked completely normal.
However a closer look reveals that the leaves are curled into a small tube. This is held in place with silks spun around the leaves to form a tunnel for a small spider. Once this was spotted they were everywhere, amazing that the plants survive with this amount of manipulation.
It had never crossed my mind that spiders webs came in different styles, but here is a brief summary!