The Atlantic

A Truly Remarkable Spider

The spider Hyptiotes reinvented the concept of the web, building an extraordinary, spring-loaded trap.
Source: Sarah Han

Almost 150 years ago, on an October afternoon, Burt Green Wilder was strolling through the woods outside Ithaca, when he stumbled across a strange spider web attached to a hemlock branch. It was triangular, as if a wedge had been cut from a full web. And “instead of hanging loosely from the twigs, it was upon the stretch, as if constantly drawn by a power at one or the other end,” Wilder later wrote.

Wilder had many talents: He was a Civil War surgeon, a pioneering neuroscientist famous for his vast that included, eventually, his own, and a zoologist whose fondness for spiders led him to that milked them for

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