I realized that not all of the web was sticky, the spider walks on the radial threads, which are not sticky. The concentric threads are where the sticky part is. (Apparently it is even more complex than that, There are seven different kinds of silk that spiders can spin but that is a little off topic.) The interesting thing about the sticky thread is the fact that the sticky comes from small drops of liquid on the silk. These small drops make an imperfection on the slick silk that the drop of water can hang on. Which also explains my next thought about the water, why is it so regularly spaced? Because the spider places the sticky drops evenly.
Of course, the trouble with that explanation is the fact that there are drops on the radial threads in this photo, albeit not as large and not as many. Perhaps there is some stickiness to all of the strands on this particular type of spider web? Or just other imperfections in the strand? Perhaps specks of dust?
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