Spider capable of using hanging rocks as anchor points? Or coincidence?

A friend sent me this meme of what appears to be as the title says

Was curious enough to delve deeper and found one different source of the same thing.

What is this? Odd coincidence? People playing foul?
It seems realistic or at least reasonably plausible for a spider to gain an adaptation like this. At the same time it’s ticking a bone of suspicion in me as well.

Any intel on this one?

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according to comments on a reddit thread discussing this (https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/2ietn6/very_clever_spider_uses_rock_to_anchor_web_from/), this can happen if a spider anchors its web on something it thinks is fixed but which gets pulled up inadvertently as the spider tightens the web.

btw – the original poster in the reddit thread says the spider in question was a Spotted Orbweaver.

another comment in the thread points out that spiders have been seen suspending empty snail shells to use as a hiding place.


Spiders are also known to hoist their prey off the ground to keep it from other animals. Doesn’t seem like the exact same thing that’s happening here, but it’s definitely possible.

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Is it also possible for the spider to have grabbed the rock thinking it was prey?

This sounds pretty likely.

I doubt it. In my (non-expert) experience adult orbweavers are pretty good at distinguising what’s prety and what’s not prey. I’ve definitely thrown small items (leaves and such) into webs and she’ll pretty quickly determine it’s not prey and cut it out. I felt bad about making them do the extra work so I don’t do that anymore, but it’s pretty cool to see.

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I’ve never seen a rock, but I’ve repeatedly seen a dried leaf dangling as the bottom “anchor point” of orb weaver webs. I’m thinking, like pisum and Tony said, that the leaf was originally on the ground and got hoisted as the web was built. Whether or not the spider intended to do it like that, I don’t know, but it does seem to work just fine.

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This is quite interesting and may even be a case of adaptive evolution. Not all web-spinning Spiders spin the typical radial web that we are used to but, depending on the structure and nature of the habitat, may resort to spinning a single vertical thread or multiple fused threads to catch prey which are too strong for, and may otherwise absorb wavelengths which would aid them to avoid, the typical web

I’ve only ever seen this kind of web from Orbweavers on 2 occassions so this behaviour is relatively rare and perhaps restricted to certain Arachnid taxa, but if these photos are from an increasingly urbanized locality then its possible that this species is adapting to using small stones as an anchor as a replacement to what it would have used when the area was still pristine (e.g twigs and leaves)

I’d say its very unlikely that this spider accidentally hoisted up the rock by mistaking it for prey, but who knows?

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