Navigation Links
Tarantulas produce silk from their feet

Researchers have found for the first time that tarantulas can produce silk from their feet as well as their spinnerets, a discovery with profound implications for why spiders began to spin silk in the first place.

Adam Summers, a UC Irvine professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, was among the team of scientists who made the discovery using zebra tarantulas from Costa Rica. The team found that the tarantulas secrete silk from spigots on their legs, allowing them to better cling to surfaces. Until now, spiders were only known to spin silk from spinnerets located on their abdomen and to use the silk to form webs for protection and capturing prey rather than for locomotion.

The findings are published in the current issue of Nature.

"If we find that other spiders in addition to these tarantulas have the ability to secrete silk from their feet, this could represent a major change in our evolutionary hypothesis regarding spider silk," Summers said. "It could mean that silk production actually originated in the feet to increase traction, with the diversity of spinneret silk evolving later."

The researchers placed tarantulas on a vertical glass surface. Though ground dwelling, these spiders can normally hang on to vertical surfaces by using thousands of spatulate hairs and small claws. However, the scientists noticed that when the spider started to slip down the surface, it produced silk from all four pairs of legs, allowing it to adhere to the glass for more than 20 minutes. The silk secretions were clearly visible on the glass. Using scanning electron microscopy, the scientists also were able to see the openings on the legs that resemble the silk-producing spigots on spider abdominal spinnerets.

The next step, according to Summers, is to investigate whether the silk produced by the feet is the same as that produced by the spinneret. Many spiders can produce seven different kinds of silk. Scientists will look at the genes involved in silk production from the feet, compare them to the gene family that leads to spinneret silk production, and be able to better determine whether silk was originally used for traction, or whether that was a secondary usage that came later.
'"/>

Source:University of California - Irvine


Related biology news :

1. Inexpensive, mass-produced genes core of synthetic biology advances at UH
2. Researchers devise way to mass-produce embryonic stem cells
3. Stem cells from brain transformed to produce insulin at Stanford
4. Anammox bacteria produce nitrogen gas in oceans snackbar
5. Proteomics brings researchers closer to understanding microbes that produce acid mine drainage
6. Organic farms produce same yields as conventional farms
7. Pollution-eating bacteria produce electricity
8. Most embryos produced during IVF do not result in live births
9. Dangerous tricksters: Some bacterie use immune cells to reproduce
10. DNA self-assembly used to mass-produce patterned nanostructures
11. Lateral thinking produces first map of gene transmission

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:11/30/2016)... Nov. 30, 2016  higi SH llc (higi) ... initiative targeting national brands, industry thought-leaders and celebrity ... respective audiences for taking steps to live healthier, ... in 2012, higi has built the largest self-screening ... 38 million people who have conducted over 185 ...
(Date:11/29/2016)... Lithuania , Nov. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... biometric identification and object recognition technologies, today ... (SDK) for fingerprint recognition solutions that run ... a fingerprint template using less than 128KB ... in compact devices that have limited on-board ...
(Date:11/28/2016)... , Nov. 28, 2016 ... a rate of 16.79%" The biometric system market ... grow further in the near future. The biometric system ... billion in 2022, at a CAGR of 16.79% between ... system, integration of biometric technology in smartphones, rising use ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/6/2016)... 2016  SRI International has been awarded a ... National Institutes of Health,s National Institute of Allergy ... (NIAID-DAIDS) to support the manufacturing and characterization of ... Under the seven-year contract, SRI will provide a ... candidate HIV-prevention products that emerge from investigator-initiated studies ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... ... December 05, 2016 , ... ... cellulose nanocrystals and cellulose nanofibrils. The composition claims are not limited to ... claims directed to combination with polymers, carbon fibers, graphene, and other materials. ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... , Dec. 5, 2016  Renova™ Therapeutics, a ... heart failure and other chronic diseases, announced that ... company as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), effective today. ... 20 years of experience in financial management for ... and software companies. Most recently, Ms. Bovenizer was ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... YORK , December 5, 2016 ... player worldwide, with almost $108 billion of revenue and ... $170 billion were spent on global biopharmaceuticals, and this ... This morning, Stock-Callers.com has lined up these four equities ... ), ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ACAD ), ...
Breaking Biology Technology: