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January 15, 2013

Harvesting silk from a spider — video

From the Guardian: "Fritz Vollrath's silk group at Oxford has been going for about 15 years and has perfected a technique to reel silk directly from the spider. At the start of this film, a spider is pinned down after being sedated with carbon dioxide gas. The silk being pulled from the spinnerets consists mainly of major ampullate silk which forms the main structure of the web (like scaffolding) and minor ampullate silk, which is used to form the main spiral of the spider's web. The silk thread is pulled over onto the spool and attached with a dab of glue, and the motor is then run to start collection onto the spool. The species of this spider is Nephila edulis. It's possible to harvest between 30-80 metres of silk in one go, after which the spider can be released back to its web to feed, ready for reeling another day."

January 15, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink


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What does your Mom do Carrie?

Well, She, umm, well,

works in a laboratory, I gotta go now.

Posted by: joepeach | Jan 15, 2013 6:12:21 PM

I believe black widows' silk was used for gunsights during WWII.

Posted by: jim` | Jan 15, 2013 12:46:32 PM

Reminds me of A Clockwork Orange

Posted by: Virginia | Jan 15, 2013 11:57:11 AM

OK, but really. Do we know how it feels to the spider? Every day? 30 to 80 meters? It just doesn't look very pretty to me. Joe, you're the anesthesiologist, would carbon dioxide render it insensible or just unable to move and protest (aided by those Spanish Inquisition looking pins)? Still, I had a pet tarantula for 13 years. I admit, it's method of stunning, then sucking the liquified guts from crickets, whose antennae moved as they were fed upon, was probably no less cruel. What do they do with the silk anyway?

Posted by: tamra | Jan 15, 2013 3:29:47 AM

How long before People for the Ethical Treatment of Spiders begin a protest?

Posted by: jim` | Jan 15, 2013 12:12:19 AM

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