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Questions & Answers

Do spiders eat their own webs?  
Will spiders lay their eggs on people? Do spiders crawl in my mouth and nose while I am sleeping?
I have been bitten by a spider what do I do? I am terrified of spiders, what do I do?
How do I get rid of spiders without using pesticides? What is the most dangerous spider in the world?
Are Daddy Longlegs the most poisonous spiders in the world? Do all female spiders eat the male after mating?
I found this spider inside, should I take it outside and let it go? I received an email about a spider under a toilet seat that had killed many people. Is it true?
What are the red spiders outside? What is that black and yellow spider in my garden?
I found these small red bites all over me when I woke up, has a spider been biting me in my sleep? What are spider webs made of?
What is the largest spider in the world? What is the spider that likes to stay in people's shadows?
Why don't spiders fall off walls when they walk up them? How long do spiders live for?
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Q. What are spider webs made of? Paul & Jo
A.
Spider webs are made of special spider silk which is the strongest fibre known to man. It is five times as strong as steel and is also stronger and more elastic than Kevlar, the material used in bullet-proof vests. The strongest of all spider silk is produced by the Golden Orb Weaving spider. Spiders make silk using silk glands in their abdomens. The silk is mostly made up of the proteins fibroin and sericin. (Another natural fibre that is made up of protein is your hair but it is made of the protein keratin.)  Scientists are not sure how the silk is constructed because strands of spider silk are so tiny but they understand a lot about the protein molecules in spider silk. A single strand that measures 3-5 microns across may be made up of thousands of individual sub-strands that are too small to be examined by any microscope. (A micron is equal to one millionth of a metre, or one thousandth of a millimeter.)

Because of its size, and the complex way spiders create the silk, it's a very hard for humans to copy, however for the first time ever, self-assembled spider web fibres, which are much stronger than silk spun by silkworms, have been created under laboratory conditions outside of the bodies of spiders. This was accomplished by scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and from Germany and England. This new spider thread will be used for for the manufacturing of bulletproof vests, surgical thread, micro-conductors, optical fibers, fishing rods, and even new types of clothing.
More info on spider silk here - http://www.brantacan.co.uk/spider_webs.htm
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