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Zoology (Jena). 2009;112(1):16-26. doi: 10.1016/j.zool.2008.04.002. Epub 2008 Sep 9.

Adhesive efficiency of spider prey capture threads.

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Department of Biological Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061, USA.


Cribellar capture threads are comprised of thousands of fine silk fibrils that are produced by the spigots of a spider's cribellum spinning plate and are supported by larger interior axial fibers. This study examined factors that constrain the stickiness of cribellar threads spun by members of the orb-weaving family Uloboridae in the Deinopoidea clade and compared the material efficiency of these threads with that of viscous capture threads produced by members of their sister clade, the Araneoidea. An independent contrast analysis confirmed the direct relationship between cribellar spigot number and cribellar thread stickiness. A model based on this relationship showed that cribellar thread stickiness is achieved at a rapidly decreasing material efficiency, as measured in terms of stickiness per spigot. Another limitation of cribellar thread was documented when the threads of two uloborid species were measured with contact plates of four widths. Unlike that of viscous threads, the stickiness of cribellar threads did not increase as plate width increased, indicating that only narrow bands along the edges of thread contact contributed to their stickiness. As thread volume increased, the gross material efficiency of cribellar threads decreased much more rapidly than that of viscous threads. However, cribellar threads achieved their stickiness at a much greater gross material efficiency than did viscous threads, making it more challenging to explain the transition from deinopoid to araneoid orb-webs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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