If you grew up on "Charlotte's Web," E.B. White's popular children's novel about the friendship between a barn spider and a talking pig, then you may be forgiven for assuming that all spiders spin large, ornamental webs with witty messages written into them. As we've already learned, however, many spiders don't spin webs at all. Those that do, spew their silk in a wide variety of ways.
Spiders produce silk from glands located beneath the abdomen. The silk itself is a protein that initially comes out in liquid form and hardens as it leaves the glands. Some of it is used to make webs, while the rest goes toward wrapping up prey and creating sacs for eggs [source: Explorit Science Center].
Orb webs — the circular type nets formed from a series of spirals — are probably the best-known, but they're far from the only type of silk creations that spiders craft. Funnel webs are used by burrowing and other types of spiders to move around and stalk prey. Unlike the orbs, they aren't sticky. That allows their creators to move quickly to attack and retreat. Cobwebs and meshwebs, on the other hands, are less structured. These are the ones often found in grassy fields and under rocks, stones and dead leaves [source: University of Michigan].