Researchers reveal silky secrets of plucky spiders

Beth Mortimer  with the Golden Orb spider

Beth Mortimer with the Golden Orb spider Buy this photo

First published in News

SPIDERS pluck the silk strings of their webs like guitars, Oxford scientists have found.

Researchers at the University of Oxford were involved in the project which found, when plucked, spider silk sends out sounds which carry information about prey, mates and even the strength of the web.

Beth Mortimer, of the Oxford Silk Group at Oxford University, said: “Most spiders have poor eyesight and rely almost exclusively on the vibration of the silk in their web for sensory information. The sound of silk can tell them what type of meal is entangled in their net and about the intentions and quality of a prospective mate. By plucking the silk like a guitar string and listening to the “echoes” the spider can also assess the condition of its web.”

The discovery was made when the researchers fired bullets and lasers at webs to study how the silk vibrates.

 

  • Our top stories:

Deal to transform Oxford's West End and Oxpens is signed

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Wednesday 1st April 2015

A MULTI-MILLION pound deal has been signed to transform the city’s West End with hundreds of homes, a hotel and office space.

Brothers of drug ring leader jailed for dealing heroin and crack cocaine

Oxford Mail:

6:38pm Wednesday 1st April 2015

THE brothers of a man who led a multi-million pound drugs conspiracy have also been jailed for dealing cocaine, crack and heroin.

Update: Woman taken to hospital with leg injuries after High Street taxi crash

Oxford Mail:

5:46pm Wednesday 1st April 2015

A WOMAN was been taken to hospital after being involved in an accident with a taxi on Oxford High Street.

Note found among paedophile headteacher David Tuohy's possessions, inquest hears

Oxford Mail:

4:17pm Wednesday 1st April 2015

A PAEDOPHILE headteacher whose body was discovered in the River Thames was found with a note, an inquest heard.

Home Secretary reveals more than 100 possible slavery victims identified following Oxford raids

Oxford Mail:

1:26pm Wednesday 1st April 2015

HOME Secretary Theresa May revealed there were more than 100 potential victims identified for Operation Rague.

Pizza delivery worker injured after collision on scooter with car in Abingdon

Oxford Mail:

9:48am Wednesday 1st April 2015

An 18-year-old needed hospital treatment last night after his pizza delivery scooter was in a collision with a car.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree