Spider webs can be quite delicate, or exceptionally strong, depending on the species and age of the spider. Webs of black widows, for example, are expansive (usually about a cubic foot) and incredibly elastic. You can pluck the threads like guitar strings without breaking them. The webs of Nephila orb weavers from tropical regions are so strong that native peoples in Papua New Guinea use them as handheld fishing nets. In 2010, it was found that a species of orb weaver from Madagascar, Caerostris darwini, produces the world’s toughest biological material. Spider silk, in general, is widely regarded as the strongest natural fabric known, at least half as strong as a steel thread of the same thickness, and much more elastic. Efforts to synthesize spider silk have met with mixed results, but it is not out of the question to imagine a future with bullet-proof vests and parachutes made of spider silk. Spider silk outperforms Kevlar by 300% in its ability to absorb energy before breaking!
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?