Spiders' silk stronger than steel

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 June, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 June, 1997, 12:00am

Unlike spiderman who shoots silk from his wrist, spiders secrete silk from their upper abdomen.

The silk is made from a protein which is liquid while inside the body.

When the liquid comes into contact with air it hardens.

The silk is strong but elastic.

Amazingly, spider's silk is three times stronger than steel thread of the same diameter and will stretch one-fifth of its length before breaking.

It is the intricate silken web that makes the carnivorous spider such a successful hunter.

If it is not hungry, any trapped prey is tied up in silk and saved for a later meal.

The spider spins a silk dragline which prevents it falling far if it loses its footing when jumping or walking.

The silken egg sacs made by female spiders hold up to 2,500 fertilised eggs.

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