spider silk

The fields are full of spiders’ webs.

Spider silk is stronger by weight than steel.  It is finer than a human hair, and, unlike steel, can keep its strength at temperatures below minus 40°C. It is very elastic and the sticky silk a spider uses to catch its prey remains unbroken after being stretched up to four times times its original length. 

Spiders use different kinds of silk for a variety of functions:

  • Spiders wrap their prey in swathing silk.
  • They use sticky silk to build webs for catching prey; it is elastic to prevent the prey from bouncing off the web
  • Draglines, which are used to connect the spider to the web, are safety lines; dragline silk is the strongest kind of silk because it must support the weight of the spider.
  • Spiders use parachuting or ballooning silk to catch the wind and lift them into the air. Newly hatched spiderlings disperse to new habitats this way and the webs that can be seen covering our fields when the sun is low is this kind of silk. Spiders have been found 4km up in the atmosphere.
  • They make shelters and nests, and line burrows with silk.
  • Females make silken egg-sacs.

All pictures taken in the park

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