Spider silk is manufactured within glands inside the spider’s abdomen. Amazingly, a wide variety of silk is made, each type having its own particular use. Strong, elastic silk is used to build the foundation of a web. Sticky threads are produced to trap prey. Soft, fluffy silk cushions the eggs while a tough, papery silk envelopes the exterior of the egg sac. Each kind of silk is extruded in liquid form through tiny “nozzles” collectively located in organs called “spinnerets.” These are conical or finger-like appendages visible at the back side of the spider’s abdomen. Most spiders have at least two pairs of spinnerets, with each spinneret containing many, many silk-producing “spigots.” As the spider brushes the liquid silk from the spinnerets, the silk proteins are oriented in a fashion that renders them a solid fiber. Many web-building spiders have special “combs” on their legs that help them spin out the silk strands.
More Frequently Asked Questions
General Spider Questions
- What is a spider?
- How do I identify a spider?
- What is the world's largest spider?
- How many eyes do spiders have?
- How long do spiders live?
- How are spiders helpful to people and the planet?
- What kind of animals eat spiders?
- How do spiders produce silk?
- Why do spiders spin webs?
- How do spiders create webs?
- How long does it take a spider to build a web?
- How strong is a spider web?
- Why is spider silk sticky?
- What else do spiders use silk for?
- What is the most venomous spider in the world?
- How do I treat a spider bite?
- What do spider bites look like?