The ‘galleries' produced by embiopterans are tunnels and chambers woven from the silk they produce. These woven constructions can be found on substrates such as rocks and the bark of trees, or in leaf litter (Edgerly et al. 2006). Some species camouflage their galleries by deccorating the outer layers with bits of leaf litter or other materials to match their surroundings. The galleries are essential to their life cycle, maintaining moisture in their environment, plus offering protection from predators and elements while foraging, breeding and simply existing. The only occasion when an embiopteran will leave the gallery complex is when winged males fly out or wingless males walk out in search of a mate, or when females explore the area immediately surrounding them in search of a new food source (Edgerly et al. 2002). On detection of a potential predator or threat, the embiids retreat into their galleries, and some species have even been observed to 'play dead' until the threat is no longer present (Romoser & Stoffolano 1998).
Webspinners continually extend their galleries into new food sources, and expand their existing galleries as they grow in size. The insects spin silk by moving their forelegs back and forth over the substrate, and rotating their bodies to create a cylindrical, silk-lined tunnel. Older galleries have multiple laminate layers of silk. Each gallery complex contains a number of individuals, often descended from a single female, and forms a complex maze-like structure, extending from a secure retreat into whatever vegetable food matter is available nearby. The size and complexity of the colony varies between species, and they can be very extensive in those species that live in hot and humid climates (Hoell et al. 1998).
- Collin, Matthew A., Jessica E. Garb, Janice S. Edgerly & Cheryl Y. Hayashi (2008). "Characterization of silk spun by the embiopteran, Antipaluria urichi". Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 39 (2): 75–82.
- Edgerly, J. S. , J. A. Davilla & N. Schoenfeld (2002). "Silk spinning behaviour and domicile construction in webspinners". Journal of Insect Behavior 15 (2): 219–242. doi:10.1023/A:1015437001089
- Edgerly, J. S., S. M. Shenoy & V. G. Werner (2006). "Relating the cost of spinning silk to the tendency to share it for three embiids with different lifestyles (Order Embiidina: Clothodidea, Notoligotomidae, and Australembiidea)". Environmental Entomology 35 (2): 448–457. doi:10.1603/0046-225X-35.2.448.
- Hoell, H. V., J. T. Doyen & A. H. Purcell (1998). Introduction to Insect Biology and Diversity (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 389–391. ISBN 0-19-510033-6.
- Romoser, William S. and J. G. Stoffolano. 1998. The Science of Entomology. WCB McGraw-Hill.
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