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Rapid mid-jump production of high-performance silk by jumping spiders

Citation

Shamble, Paul; Kim, Kris; Chen, Ava (2021), Rapid mid-jump production of high-performance silk by jumping spiders, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.k98sf7m6m

Abstract

Jumping spiders (Salticidae) do not rely on webs to capture their prey, but they do spin a silk dragline behind them as they move through their habitat. They also spin this dragline during jumps, continuously connecting them with the surface they leapt from. Since spiders cannot spin silk in advance, this silk must be spun at the same speed as the spider jumps—in effect, requiring spin speeds over ten times faster than typical. And while many spiders can move rapidly (e.g. running or rappelling), previous research on silk has found that silk spinning rates in excess of walking and web-building speeds (~2-20mm/s) result in lower quality silk and even dragline failure. Here we found that despite being spun at high speeds (~500-700mm/s; 100-140 body lengths/s), jump-spun salticid silk showed consistent, uniform structure as well as the high-performance qualities characteristic of silk spun by other spiders, including orb-weaving species, at low speeds. Toughness of this jump-spun silk (mean = 281.9MJ/m3) even surpassed reported values for all but the toughest orb-web draglines. This provides the first evidence that salticids are capable of spinning high-performance silk and are able to do so extremely rapidly under natural conditions.

Methods

For data collection methods, see main text and associated Supplemental Information.

Usage Notes

Two sets of files are provided:

(1) svg files to laser cut the circular jumping apparatus (cut from MDF) and silk collection scaffolds (cut from paper) used in our experiments

(2) data used in our final analysis and the associated R-markdown scripts (both as a pdf and as an R-studio file)

Funding

Harvard University, Award: John Harvard Distinguished Science Fellows Program