Variability in the mechanical properties of spider silks on three levels: interspecific, intraspecific and intraindividual

Bo Madsen, Zhengzhong Shao, Fritz Vollrath

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The mechanical characteristics of dragline silks collected from a range of spiders drawn from the Argiopidae, Tetragnathidae, Theridiidae and Pisauridae displayed significant inter- and intraspecific differences. Dragline silks of the same species could show considerable variability probably dependent upon spider condition; starvation, for example, lead to decreased breaking elongation in Nephila edulis. Environmental conditions such as reeling speed affected silk properties such that (i) breaking elongation decreased, (ii) breaking stress increased and (iii) Young’s modulus increased with increasing reeling speed. However, N. edulis and Araneus diadematus responded differently to the reeling speed treatments suggesting differences in basic silk properties. © 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Biological Macromolecules
Volume24
Pages (from-to)301–306
ISSN0141-8130
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Silk mechanics
  • Silk variability
  • Biopolymer

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