The Nature Wanderer

In Search of the Cobs

As I sat in my office trying to figure out what enlightening topic to write about for the upcoming newsletter, I stared into space in a belief that this practice will allow the brain cells to shift to just such a position that a brilliant idea will suddenly be produced. Instead of a revelation coming to me, I noticed the many and varied cobwebs decorating the upper corners of the room. But no sign of the creator of these silken designs that most try to eliminate from their homes. So where was the cob hiding? Is there even such a thing as a cob? What does a cob look like? I had to find out.

The next couple hours were spent searching every nook and cranny of the office for the lair of the infamous cob. No reference book or pair of binoculars would go unturned. As my quest advanced I discovered more and more of the cobs webs. They were everywhere.

As despair began to set in, I decided to research this master of stealth in order to even the playing field. As I sat at the computer I could just feel the cobs eyes upon me, laughing at my failed attempt to uncover its position. That’s when the truth became known.

The webs that are all about the office were indeed made by spiders. These haphazard strands of silk were produced by a family of spiders from the family Theridiidae, which includes the common house spider. These spiders don’t spin the beautiful circular webs as most spiders do. Being sticky, the webs attract all the dust particles floating through the air, gathering and creating the long strands we see. We don’t usually notice them until enough dust has gathered upon them, long after the spider has abandoned them to build elsewhere.

The word cob is believed to come from the old English word “coppe” which simply means spider. A “coppe web” eventually became a “copp web” and slowly evolved to “cobweb”.

With the quest for the cob now doomed to fail, I decided to get back to trying to figure out what inspirational piece to write for the Outlook. I’ll leave the silken decorations in the office for another day. So what creature created all this dust on my keyboard? Hmmm…