What can we learn from spiders. In addition to the Japanese and the Incas, Walt Whitman and Beethoven, and machines, Frank Lloyd Wright said the main influence on his work was the spider. He liked the lightness and strength of their webs. Can we learn anything about markets from the spider?

Ken Drees writes: 

King Louis XI was known as the spider king so named because he always wove the most intricate and well conceived plots against his enemies. Markets seem to see further into the move sequences. Maybe there is something to be learned by investigating him.

Gibbons Burke writes: 

 I trying to relate the spider to the markets the first thing that occurs to me is the quote from Reminiscences of a Stock Operator:

"It never was my thinking that made the big money for me. It always was my sitting. Got that? My sitting tight! It is no trick at all to be right on the market. You always find lots of early bulls in bull markets and early bears in bear markets. I've known many men who were right at exactly the right time, and began buying or selling stocks when prices were at the very level which should show the greatest profit. And their experience invariably matched mine–that is, they made no real money out of it. Men who can both be right and sit tight are uncommon."

Spiders set up their optimized webs, and then just sit tight, patiently positioned for the meal to show up.

The webs are well-structured, robust, and, like trend trading systems the number of winners (flyies eaten) is vastly outnumbered by the number of losers (fly byes).

The best webs are difficult to see.

A spider does better by making a large web, but too large and ti won't be able to hold the tray. Liken the size of the web to the use of leverage… extend your line too much and when you get a big move (a rather large beetle) it destroys the web rather than getting caught.

In unfavorable conditions, the spider eats up its web and redigests the resource to put it up when conditions are better suited to catching flies.

Chris Tucker writes: 

Spiders use sophisticated tools to capture prey, most frequently a web with sticky silk to trap insects. Spider webs are a marvel of engineering and spider silk is incredibly elastic and stronger (by weight) than steel. Spiders are incredibly industrious, many orb weavers consume their webs every evening and build a new one each night.

Spiders are patient. Orb weavers set their traps and wait, letting their tools do the work. Spiders are observant, they wait patiently for signals from their webs (usually vibrations) before pouncing. Several types of spiders use camouflage to fool prey. Ant mimicking spiders wave their front legs in the air to disguise the fact that they have eight legs and no antennae.

Spiders use deceptive behavior to fool/lure prey.

I have copied and pasted some interesting info below from the excellent wiki article on spiders):

When at rest, the ant-mimicking crab spider Amyciaea does not closely resemble Oecophylla [it's prey], but while hunting it imitates the behavior of a dying ant to attract worker ants.

Also from the wiki on spiders:

 About half the potential prey that hit orb webs escape. A web has to perform three functions: intercepting the prey (intersection), absorbing its momentum without breaking (stopping), and trapping the prey by entangling it or sticking to it (retention). No single design is best for all prey. For example: wider spacing of lines will increase the web's area and hence its ability to intercept prey, but reduce its stopping power and retention; closer spacing, larger sticky droplets and thicker lines would improve retention, but would make it easier for potential prey to see and avoid the web, at least during the day. However there are no consistent differences between orb webs built for use during the day and those built for use at night. In fact there is no simple relationship between orb web design features and the prey they capture, as each orb-weaving species takes a wide range of prey.

Spiders leverage their best talents and keep an escape route handy:

The hubs of orb webs, where the spiders lurk, are usually above the center, as the spiders can move downwards faster than upwards. If there is an obvious direction in which the spider can retreat to avoid its own predators, the hub is usually offset towards that direction.

Bolas spiders are like fishermen and use deceptive lures to attract prey:

Bolas Spiders are unusual orb-weaver spiders that do not spin the typical web. Instead, they hunt by using a sticky 'capture blob' of silk on the end of a line, known as a 'bolas'. By swinging the bolas at flying male moths or moth flies nearby, the spider may snag its prey rather like a fisherman snagging a fish on a hook. Because of this, they are also called angling or fishing spider (although the remotely related genus Dolomedes is also called fishing spider). The prey is lured to the spider by the production of up to three pheromone analogues.

Pitt T. Maner III writes: 

I found this article on the developing market for spider silk interesting:

"Despite being a protein, spider silk is by weight five times stronger than steel and three times tougher than Kevlar, a p-aramid fiber from DuPont. Strength is defined as the weight a material can bear, and toughness is the amount of kinetic energy it can absorb without breaking. The silk's primary structure is its amino acid sequence, mainly consisting of repeated glycine and alanine blocks.

Potential applications include cables and bulletproof vests. Spider silk's antimicrobial properties make it suitable for wound patches. Because the silk is not rejected by the human body, it can be used to manufacture artificial tendons or to coat implants. And its thermal conductivity is similar to that of copper but its mass density is one-seventh of copper's, making it a potential heat management material."


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