March 14, 2012

New Research On Why Spiders Do Not Stick To Webs

According to new research published in the journal Naturwissenschaften, spiders do not stick to their own webs because of the way they move.

The spiders ability to not stick to its own web was originally attributed to a special coating on their legs.

However, researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and University of Costa Rica used modern imaging technology to record close-up footage that better explains the ability.

The team combined a video camera and a microscope to record the spiders in detail in order to better understand the process.

They identified three factors that combined in order to keep the spider from sticking to its web.

The researchers said leg hairs that decreased the surface area available to stick was one of the factors playing a role in this process.  Also, a chemical coating on the hairs that reduced the adhesion helped the spider glide across the sticky surface, as well as the way the spiders move their legs.

"Spiders reduce their adhesion to the sticky lines in their webs by moving their legs carefully so as to allow the sticky lines to slide off easily," Dr. William Eberhard, an research in the study, told BBC Nature.

The team saw that when a spider made contact with a sticky line, the adhesive droplets were transferred to its leg hairs.

As the spider withdrew its leg from the web, the droplets slid down these non-stock hairs and dripped off the fine point at the end.


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