Tarantulas eject silk from feet

Tarantulas eject silk through their feet to anchor themselves to slippery, vertical surfaces, say scientists. The discovery, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, shows how these large but very fragile spiders avoid potentially lethal falls. The team designed an experiment to dislodge the spiders feet slightly, by gently shaking a glass tank as they climbed up the side. Examining glass slides from under the tarantulas feet revealed their secret. Like all spiders, tarantulas have attachment hairs on their feet. But, for very large tarantulas, this system for sticking is stretched to its limit.

An electron microscope revealed microscopic silk producing structures on the spiders' feet

The idea that they had this Spiderman-like ability was first proposed in 2006 by researchers in Germany, who published a paper on the topic in the journal Nature. But this was quickly refuted by another group that claimed the silk came from the spiders spinnerets – their specialised silk-spinning organs – and had simply brushed on to the tarantulas feet. So Claire Rind and her colleagues from the University of Newcastle set out to design an experiment to test the theory.

Full details here Tarantulas eject silk from feet.

This entry was posted in Biology, Wild Life. Bookmark the permalink.