The web is probably one of the mostamazing materials on our planet. Just think about it - in some species of spiders it is stronger than steel, it is capable of strongly stretching and has antibacterial properties. It is not surprising that scientists from all over the world are trying to study its structure in as much detail as possible in order to make reliable body armor and use it to create robots. The so-called Darwinian spider (Caerostris darwini) weaves the world's strongest web, and scientists have not yet understood exactly how it creates such amazing material. This secret is finally revealed.
Scientists have long noticed that the webDarwin's spiders are twice as strong as the web of other arthropod species. Its strength is especially noticeable when trying to tear the threads - in the process they are strongly stretched and if the length of the web at rest was equal to two meters, then when stretched, it increases to four meters. It was clear that the Darwinian spider web had some additional element, but which one, until now, was unknown.
First you should talk about Darwin himself.spider This species was discovered in 2001 in Madagascar, but only got a detailed scientific description in 2009. It so happened that the moment of official recognition of the spider as a new species coincided with the 150th anniversary of the first publication of the book Origin of Species, in which the English naturalist Charles Darwin spoke about his theory of evolution. That is why the new species of spiders was called "Darwinian".
Darwin Spider (Caerostris darwini)
By themselves, these spiders are very small - lengthfemales reaches 18 millimeters, and the body length of the males is approximately 6 millimeters. Usually they weave webs over rivers and as a result they have a sticky and durable net for catching insects. The diameter of such a grid is sometimes 2.8 meters, and the length of one thread can reach 25 meters.
By the way, some species of spiders kill even large animals.
The most durable material
To find out what exactly gives the webDarwinian spiders of such strength, scientists have extracted cells from their bodies, which are responsible for its production. Since the web in its essence is a protein fiber, in its composition, not surprisingly, proteins were found under the names MaSp1 and MaSp2. They are part of the web of almost all spiders, however, another, an additional protein, MaSp4, was found in the threads of Darwinian creatures. It contains a lot of so-called proline, which is responsible for the ability of materials to stretch - this is one of the reasons for the strength of the web.
In addition, scientists have found another featureDarwin spiders allowing them to weave such durable material. Unlike other types of spiders, they have longer spinning organs that allow protein fibers to connect with each other more firmly and more evenly. Thanks to an orderly and dense structure, such a web turns out as strong as possible and does not lose its flexibility.
Now, revealing the secret of a solid web, scientistswill be able to create synthetic spider silk, suitable for use in body armor and medical equipment. It is noteworthy that spider silk was discovered in ancient China, and at the moment the price of one square meter of this material costs more than 500,000 dollars. The new discovery will not only reduce the cost of spider silk, but also give it additional strength.
Here's another interesting thing: Wasps turn spiders into “zombies” with a steroid hormone.
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