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2010-09-30 09:25:00

A research and development effort by the University of Notre Dame, the University of Wyoming, and Kraig Biocraft Laboratories, Inc. has succeeded in producing transgenic silkworms capable of spinning artificial spider silks. "This research represents a significant breakthrough in the development of superior silk fibers for both medical and non-medical applications," said Malcolm J. Fraser Jr., a Notre Dame professor of biological sciences. "The generation of silk fibers having the properties...

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2010-08-03 09:39:51

It's a question that has puzzled scientists for years: why, in some species of spiders, are the females so much larger than their male counterparts? Now, investigators from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) believe they have found the answer. According to their findings, which are published in Wednesday's edition of the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology, the cause is likely tied to bridging, a technique of transportation used by some spiders to cross large gaps. When...

2010-07-27 23:44:39

Researchers have long envied spiders' ability to manufacture silk that is light-weighted while as strong and tough as steel or Kevlar. Indeed, finer than human hair, five times stronger by weight than steel, and three times tougher than the top quality man-made fiber Kevlar, spider dragline silk is an ideal material for numerous applications. Suggested industrial applications have ranged from parachute cords and protective clothing to composite materials in aircrafts. Also, many biomedical...

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2010-05-13 09:35:22

Discovery opens the way toward biomimetic production of ultra-strong, elastic fibers Five times the tensile strength of steel and triple that of the currently best synthetic fibers: Spider silk is a fascinating material. But no one has thus far succeeded in producing the super fibers synthetically. How do spiders form long, highly stable and elastic fibers from the spider silk proteins stored in the silk gland within split seconds? Scientists from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM)...

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2010-04-21 11:18:36

A new study by researchers in Germany, which appears in the Wednesday edition of the journal Biology Letters, provides new insight into the unusual sex life of spiders. Scientists Klaas W. Welke and Jutta M. Schneider of the University of Hamburg's Zoological Institute and Museum raised a handful of common European spiders from eggs that they discovered in a nearby meadow. The spiders were fed fruit flies until they reached adulthood, and Welke and Schneider observed their mating patterns....

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2010-04-07 13:17:03

Study shows how birds, bats and lizards play their roles in preserving plant species in face of global climate change Add insect-feeding birds, bats and lizards to the front lines of the battle against global climate change. Summarizing the results of more than 100 experiments conducted on four continents, UC Irvine ecologist Kailen A. Mooney and colleagues found that these insect-gobbling animals increase plant growth by reducing the abundance of plant-feeding insects and the damage they do...

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2010-03-01 07:54:28

Like silkworm moths, butterflies and spiders, caddisfly larvae spin silk, but they do so underwater instead on dry land. Now, University of Utah researchers have discovered why the fly's silk is sticky when wet and how that may make it valuable as an adhesive tape during surgery. "Silk from caddisfly larvae "“ known to western fly fishermen as 'rock rollers' "“ may be useful some day as a medical bioadhesive for sticking to wet tissues," says Russell Stewart, an associate...

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2010-02-24 14:11:59

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Engineering researchers have crafted a flat surface that refuses to get wet. Water droplets skitter across it like ball bearings tossed on ice. The inspiration? Not wax. Not glass. Not even Teflon. Instead, University of Florida engineers have achieved what they label in a new paper a "nearly perfect hydrophobic interface" by reproducing, on small bits of flat plastic, the shape and patterns of the minute hairs that grow on the bodies of spiders. "They have short...

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2010-02-17 12:10:00

Just because cricket moms abandon their eggs before they hatch doesn't mean they don't pass wisdom along to their babies. New research in the American Naturalist shows that crickets can warn their unborn babies about potential predator threats. Researchers Jonathan Storm of the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg and Steven Lima of Indiana State University placed pregnant crickets into enclosures containing a wolf spider. The spiders' fangs were covered with wax so the spiders...

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2010-02-11 09:55:00

Any way you look at it -- by sheer weight, species diversity or population -- the hard-shelled, joint-legged creepy crawlies called arthropods dominate planet Earth. Because of their success and importance, scientists have been trying for decades to figure out the family relationships that link lobsters to millipedes and cockroaches to tarantulas and find which might have come first. In a scientific and technological tour de force that was nearly a decade in the making, a team of scientists...


Latest Spider Reference Libraries

Cobweb Spider, Theridiidae
2014-06-23 08:44:11

Theridiidae is a family that contains over 2,200 species of cobweb spiders, also known as tangle-web spiders or comb-footed spiders, which can be found throughout the world. This species received its common names from its tendency to build three dimensional, sticky webs and from the comb of serrated bristles on the fourth leg. It is thought that this family is the only to hold a high diversity of web types, including gumfooted webs, which are highly similar to those produced by spiders in the...

Wolf Spider, Lycosidae
2014-06-23 08:30:31

Lycosidae is a family that holds about 2,300 species of wolf spiders that can be found in a variety of habitats including woodlands, gardens, and moist coastal areas. Many species do require specific microhabitats, like montane herb-fields, but most species are nomads and do not reside in one area for long periods of time. Some species within this family build burrows that can have trap doors or open entrances, while others in arid regions build nests with plugged entrance ways, to protect...

Funnel Weavers, Agelenidae
2014-06-19 13:16:37

Agelenidae is a family that holds about 1,200 recognized species of funnel weaver spiders that occur throughout the world. These spiders build funnel shaped webs that trap prey in their complicated patterns, but they should not be confused with other families of spiders that build funnel webs like funnel-web spiders or funnel-web tarantulas. Funnel weavers can reach an average body length between .1 inches in the smallest species and .7 inches, although the largest species can reach total...

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2014-06-19 08:25:14

Sparassidae is a family that holds over one thousand species of huntsman spiders, also known as giant crab spiders and wood spiders, or as rain spiders or lizard-eating spiders in some areas of its range. These species are native to Australia but were also introduced to temperate areas throughout the world including China, Japan, and some areas of the United States, including Florida and Hawaii. They inhabit warmer areas and can often be seen entering human habitations and other shelters...

Crab Spiders, Thomisidae
2014-06-19 08:13:57

Thomisidae is a family that holds around two thousand species of crab spiders that can be found throughout the world. Although the name crab spider has been used to refer to a large number of species, it is most often used to refer to members of this family, especially the flower crab spider. Many members of this family have flat bodies that resemble those of crabs and others hold their two front legs in positions that crabs are known for or move in sideways motions as crabs do. Although...

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Word of the Day
callithump
  • A somewhat riotous parade, accompanied with the blowing of tin horns, and other discordant noises; also, a burlesque serenade; a charivari.
'Callithump' is a back-formation of 'callithumpian,' a 'fanciful formation' according to the Oxford English Dictionary. However, the English Dialect Dictionary, says 'Gallithumpians' is a Dorset and Devon word from the 1790s that refers to 'a society of radical social reformers' or 'noisy disturbers of elections and meetings.'
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