Giant Spider Web

Three years ago, Alex linked to a story about a spider web that was 200 yards wide. It was made by many spiders sharing the same web. Scientists recently discovered a spider in Madagascar that can individually create a web 80 feet across. It's called the Darwin's bark spider, and makes the largest orb-type spider webs in the world:

It is so big that it can catch 30 or more prey insects at any one time.

Darwin's bark spider weaves what experts call an orb web, the most familiar spider web design.[...]

"They build their web with the orb suspended directly above a river or the water body of a lake, a habitat that no other spider can use," says Professor Ingi Agnarsson, the director of the Museum of Zoology at the University of Puerto Rico, in San Juan who made the discovery with colleagues.

That allows the spiders to catch insects flying over water, and explains why the web is so long.

To reach from one bank to the other, the spider must weave anchoring lines of up to 25m.

Because the web must sustain a comparatively enormous weight over broad distances, researchers are particularly interested in how the web is designed and the composition of the silk. It's 100% tougher than any known silk and is the toughest biological substance known.

Link via Ace of Spades HQ | Photo: M. Kunter

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