The Bolas Spider That Hunts by Lassoing Its Prey
People generally think of spiders as hunting for their prey by building webs.
However, the Bolas spider’s hunting technique is quite extraordinary. It first produces a thread stronger than silk inside its own body. It then places very powerful and sticky droplets on the end of this thread. It then dangles the thread from a tree, rather like a fishing rod, and begins patiently waiting for its prey. It also employs a miraculous tactic to attract its prey toward it. It manufactures a scent in its body and then releases it! How?
Female moths release a special scent hormone known as a pheromone to attract males. Bolas spiders replicate this scent and place it at the edge of the lure. In addition, they can change this pheromone to match the features of other insect species. Deceived, the male moth heads in the direction the scent comes from. When the moth approaches, the spider places the lasso on its two front feet and casts it, faster than the human eye can see. The sticky tip flies through the air and sticks to the moth’s body, and the prey is caught. The adhesive substance sticks to the moth’s body and the insect is reeled in. The fine but very strong thread can easily carry living things much heavier than itself at its tip. The Bolas spider wraps the moth up in a special silk it produces. The distinguishing feature of this silk is that it keeps the food fresh for a long time. The spider thus keeps its prey fresh to be consumed at a later time.
Its marvelous plan has worked.
There is another point to bear in mind here.
The Bolas spider is practically blind. Yes, that’s right! Spiders’ eyesight is very poor, but they can perceive the vibrations caused by insects when they fly. Although the Bolas spider is almost blind, it can catch a flying insect with the help of the lasso it makes itself hanging suspended in the air. This is an obvious miracle.
Let us now review what the Bolas did in order to hunt, step by step:
-It manufactured a silk thread stronger than steel but highly flexible, and prepared an adhesive ball right at the end of it...
-It produced a scent manufactured by an insect, from a totally different species to its own, and released it...
-It threw the lasso at its prey faster than the human eye can see.
-The lasso hit the target even though the spider was suspended in the air.
-Finally, it wrapped its prey up in a special silk to keep it fresh.
Almighty Allah, Lord of the universe and all living things, once again shows us His sublime and unique creative artistry in this spider.
The way that every spider ever born knows the hunting techniques employed by its own species is a miracle all by itself. For example, this Bolas spider made its first lasso when it was still a baby; at that time, it is smaller than a fingertip. The lasso is smaller than a pinhead. But it knows just what it has to do.
There is no doubt that this ability to spin webs and set traps shows that spiders are “inspired.” It is without doubt Almighty Allah, Lord of all the worlds, Who creates these creatures with these wondrous characteristics and inspires in them all they do.
I seek refuge in Allah from the accursed satan-
I have put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord. There is no creature He does not hold by the forelock. My Lord is on a Straight Path. (Surah Hud, 56)