Marvel Of God’s Creation #3: The Black And Yellow Garden Spider
The black and yellow garden spider is a special creation of the God of the Bible. As does each species of spider, it has its own unique web, which may be spun more than two feet in diameter. At the center of the web, the spider makes a dense area of silk that often gives the appearance of a zipper or zigzag bulk of silk.
The female weaves an egg sac that is pear-shaped and about one inch in diameter. She then hangs the egg sac somewhere close to her main web.
This spider lays all her eggs at once. There are usually 40 or 50. As each egg is expelled, the female dusts it with a powderysubstance. This dusting gives the egg a coating that looks like the bloom on a plum or a grape.
The eggs are enclosed in a silken cup at the center of the sac. The cup, in turn, is covered by a layer of flossy silk. And for additional protection the female weaves another layer of silk around both the cup and the floss. This outer covering is tightly woven and brown in color.
Shortly after the eggs are laid they hatch. The young are known as spiderlings. They break out of the shells by means of an organ known as the “egg tooth.” This later disappears.40
The black and yellow garden spider is like a miniature manufacturing plant. It produces different kinds of webbing in more than one color for different purposes, as well as making the powdery substance with which it coats its eggs. Some of its webbing is sticky to entrap insects for food. Other parts of the web are not sticky, enabling the spider to move rapidly across the web without ensnaring itself. How does evolution (the impersonal plus time plus chance) explain the complicated ability of one spider to produce different types of webbing for different purposes and even in different colors (varying from white to brown)? And how does evolution explain the presence of an “egg tooth” in a baby spider?
When the spider decides it is time to move on to new territory, it has an ingenious means of travel:
To reach new locations the spider travels by a means of transportation known as “ballooning.” A spiderling or spider throws out streams of silk. These threads form a sort of “flying carpet.” It rises on warm currents of ascending air, and spiders and spiderlings are borne aloft and scattered far and wide.
Sometimes they go as high as 14,000 to 15,000 feet and travel hundreds or even thousands of miles.41
Spiders undergo several moults before they are fully grown. If they do not shed their skin, they die. How would the spider know this until it grew too big for its shell and died? Dead spiders do not evolve new abilities!
The skin moults and splits open in a special manner. First, the spider injects a certain liquid called “moulting fluid” between its outer old skin and its newly developing skin. Where does this special fluid come from, and how does the spider know what to do with it and when to use it? Using the moulting fluid too soon or too late is fatal!
The way that the old skin splits is crucial. If it cracks open in the wrong places, or at wrong angles, the spider perishes.
Once the old skin is sufficiently loose, splits appear along the sides of the body and in front of the eyes. But no horizontal split occurs across the body. The vertical split along each side of the body and the one crosswise in front of the eyes form a flap of skin.
The spider pushes up the flap like a man thrusting up a hinged trap door. It pushes and pushes and pushes until the flap drops back over the abdomen. Out of the opening wriggles the spider.42
What infinite care our Creator-God has taken in the design of the spider! This little creature breaks the rules of the evolution model with its marvelous complexity. It needed God to create it just like it is with all its abilities and peculiarities.
During the summer of 2001, seven garden spiders lived in various places around our house in Texas. As we fed them grasshoppers and crickets (I toss them into the web, but my wife places them in the web), we noticed that they seemed to have different personalities. Most of them would rush out across the web to grab their meal, but one was more cautious. She would wait until the right moment to pounce upon her prey. One day, Jenna Dee placed a large, dead grasshopper in this spider’s web. I stayed to see what would happen. The big female spider just watched the lifeless hopper for several minutes. Then she took her two front legs, reached out and tweaked the web. It appeared that she was attempting to shake her web to see if the trapped grasshopper would move. Does a spider think?
Another large female liked to swing on her web. She seemed to notice when we were bringing her something to eat. Several times I walked by her with nothing in my hands and she did not swing. But by the end of the summer almost every time we got close to her with a grasshopper she would start swinging. Could she have been showing her excitement at the prospect of getting a treat? Well, I can’t resist sharing one more observation. A third spider had a short trigger. The instant you tossed a bug into her web, she ran and bit it and quickly wrapped it in sheets of webbing. One day I tossed a chlorine-soaked cricket into her web. She ran down and bit it and then jumped back and looked at it like, “What is this? It tastes awful.” She then turned around and walked back to her zipper and ignored it. Okay, one more quick one—Another day I put four grasshoppers in the same area of a spider’s web. One hour later I came back to see what she had done. To my astonishment, she had placed the four grasshoppers almost exactly twelve inches apart in the form of a perfect square!
The black and yellow garden spider is a marvel of God’s creation—the God for whom nothing is impossible (see Luke 1:37; Jeremiah 32:17, 27; Mark 10:27; Matthew 19:26), who daily lives to make intercession for us (Romans 8:34) and who loves us so much that He willingly gave His life for us (John 3:16).
40 Will Barker, Winter-Sleeping Wildlife (New York: Harper and Row, Pubs., 1958), pp. 94- 96.
41 Ibid., Barker, p. 96.
42 Ibid., Barker, p. 97.