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Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 87, Issue 3, pp 148-153

First online:

Mechanics and Morphology of Silk Drawn from Anesthetized Spiders

  • B. MadsenAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, Universitetsparken B135, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
  • , F. VollrathAffiliated withDepartment of Zoology, Universitetsparken B135, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

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Abstract

 CO2 and N2 anesthetized Nephila spiders produced dragline silk with mechanical properties that differed from control silk as a function of time under anesthesia. Silk from CO2 spiders had a significantly lower breaking strain and breaking energy, significantly higher initial modulus, and marginally lower breaking stress. At the onset of anesthesia the silk diameter became highly variable. During deep anesthesia silk either became thinner or retained cross-section but fibrillated.