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Int J Biol Macromol. 1999 Mar-Apr;24(2-3):301-6.

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

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  • 1Department of Zoology, Aarhus C, Denmark.


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.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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