Interspecies Invitational Installation

About Silk

Spiders and Silk

Spider silk is stronger than steel and more flexible than Kevlar.

For those spiders that use a web to capture prey, there are many different styles of snares.

Spiders use silk in many other ways:

  • Females wrap egg sacs.
  • Males wrap nuptial gifts for mates with silk.
  • Spiderlings disperse by letting out lines of silk and ballooning on air currents.
  • Many spiders catch their prey in webs.

Scientific Articles To Learn More About Silk

Blackledge T.A., Kuntner M., Agnarsson I.  2011. The form and function of spider orb webs: evolution from silk to ecosystems.  Advances in Insect Physiology 4: 175-262.

Dimitar, D., Lopardo, L., Giribet, G., Arnedo, M.A., Álvarez-Padilla, F., Hormiga, G.  2011.  Tangled in a sparse spider web: single origin of orb weavers and their spinning work unravelled by denser taxonomic sampling. (by subscription)

Eisoldt, L., Smith, A., Scheibel, T.  2011.  Decoding the secrets of spider silk.  Materials Today 14(3): 80–86.

Brunetta, L., Craig. C.   2010.  Spider Silk: Evolution and 400 Million Years of Spinning, Waiting, Snagging, and Mating. (book)  Yale University Press (ISBN 9780300149227 cloth).

Blackledge T.A, Scharff N., Coddington J., Szüts T., Wenzel J.W., Hayashi C.Y., Agnarsson I.  2009. Spider web evolution and diversification in the molecular era.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106: 5229-5234.

Eberhard, W.G.,  Agnarsson, I., Levi, H. W.   2008. Web forms and the phylogeny of theridiid spiders (Araneae:Theridiidae): chaos from order. Systematics and Biodiversity, 6(4): 415–475.

Craig, C.L.  2003.  Spiderwebs and Silk:  Tracing Evolution from Molecules to Genes to Phenotypes. (book) Oxford University Press.  (ISBN 0195129164 hbk)

Craig, C.L. 1997.  Evolution of arthropod silks.  Annual Review of Entomology. 42:  231-267. (by subscription)

Shear, W. (ed.). 1986.  Spiders: Webs, Behavior and Evolution.  (book)  Stanford University Press (ISBN-10: 0804712034)

Palmer, J.M.  1985.  The silk and silk production system of the funnel-web mygalomorph spider  Euagrus  (Araneae, Dipluridae).  J. Morph 186(2):  195-207.  (by subscription)


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