Journal article

Free-standing spider silk webs of the thomisid Saccodomus formivorus are made of composites comprising micro- and submicron fibers

Christian Haynl, Jitraporn Vongsvivut, Kai RH Mayer, Hendrik Bargel, Vanessa J Neubauer, Mark J Tobin, Mark A Elgar, Thomas Scheibel

SCIENTIFIC REPORTS | NATURE RESEARCH | Published : 2020

Abstract

Our understanding of the extraordinary mechanical and physico-chemical properties of spider silk is largely confined to the fibers produced by orb-weaving spiders, despite the diversity of foraging webs that occur across numerous spider families. Crab spiders (Thomisidae) are described as ambush predators that do not build webs, but nevertheless use silk for draglines, egg cases and assembling leaf-nests. A little-known exception is the Australian thomisid Saccodomus formivorus, which constructs a basket-like silk web of extraordinary dimensional stability and structural integrity that facilitates the capture of its ant prey. We examined the physical and chemical properties of this unusual w..

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University of Melbourne Researchers