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Article Abstract – Moore et al. (1999)

Title:

Material properties of cobweb silk from the black widow spider Latrodectus hesperus

Authors and affiliations:

Anne M. F. Moore, Department of Biological Sciences, The University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA
Kimly Tran, Claremont Colleges Joint Science Department, Scripps College, Claremont, CA

Citation:

International Journal of Biological Macromolecules 24: 277-282 (1999)

Abstract:

We present the material analysis of scaffolding silk from the cobweb of the black widow spider Latrodectus hesperus. 30 strands were tested from the webs of nine spiders. Strands were stretched at 0.211 mm/s as force and extension were recorded. Cross-sectional area was measured under 1000x oil-immersion light microscopy. The stress-strain curve shows that cobweb silk is a distinct material from other known spider silks. The average breaking point for this cobweb silk is 1.1±0.5 GPa at 0.22±0.05 strain. All samples increased stiffness as they were stretched, but to different extents. Variation in stiffness might be due to differential crystallization or alignment of the silk proteins during stretching.

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