Researchers reveal silky secrets of plucky spiders

8:00am Saturday 7th June 2014

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.


UPDATE: Boy taken to hospital after car crash in Bicester

Oxford Mail:

5:00pm Thursday 8th October 2015

A boy has been taken to hospital after being involved in a crash in Bicester.

15-year-old girl raped while walking to bus stop

Oxford Mail: Long TVP badge

5:10pm Thursday 8th October 2015

A 15-YEAR-OLD girl was raped in Barns Road, Cowley on her way to the bus stop. According to Thames Valley Police the girl was walking to the stop before Blackbird Leys bridge between 2pm and 4pm on Sunday, September 20.  She was approached by a man who walked alongside her. As they came to the bridge he grabbed her arm and pulled her down to a muddy track at the side of the bridge. He then raped the victim and left her on the track, walking away.  The offender is described as white, aged in his late teens, 5ft 7ins or 5ft 8ins tall and slim. He had very short dark hair, blue eyes, freckles on his face and a short ginger beard, and was wearing a chain around his neck, black trainers and dark grey Nike jogging bottoms. The girl reported the rape to police on Tuesday ((06/10)) this week. Investigating officer Det Insp Steve Raffield of Banbury CID said: “Specialist officers are supporting the victim who has reported this rape to us.  "What happened to this young girl is unimaginable and I am sure that members of the public will be shocked to hear about this incident, which happened in broad daylight.  "“A full investigation is now under way and there are officers in the area today making enquiries and providing reassurance to members of the public who may have concerns.  “Incidents like this are extremely rare, but it is essential that we identify the offender as soon as possible. I would urge anyone who has any information about this incident, or who saw or heard anything out of the ordinary in the Barns Road area around the time of the offence, to contact me as soon as possible by calling 101.”

E-fit released after man spotted holding little girl's hand in Greater Leys

Oxford Mail:

4:50pm Thursday 8th October 2015

AN E-FIT of a man who ran away after being caught holding a little girl's hand in Greater Leys has been released by Thames Valley Police. According to officers, a two-year-old girl was playing outside a property in Shepherds Hill at about 6.20pm on Friday, September 11. When her mother came to check on her she saw a man holding the girl's hand. When she challenged the man, he ran away. He is described as white, in his thirties, about 5ft 7ins or 5ft 8ins with short spiky blond or brown hair. He was wearing a knee-length jacket that may have been leather. Investigating officer Det Con Lorna Briggs of Force CID in Oxford said: “We are keeping an open mind regarding this incident. There might be a innocent explanation as to why the man was holding the girl’s hand. “If anyone recognises the man in the E-fit or has any information about the incident then please contact your local police station."

Persistent beggar banned from asking people for money in Oxford

Oxford Mail:

4:50pm Thursday 8th October 2015

A BEGGAR has been banned by police from approaching people in Oxford and asking them for money, food or cigarettes.

Oxford traveller family took 'slave' to watch Manchester United, court hears

Oxford Mail: OM Crown

1:51pm Thursday 8th October 2015

AN OXFORD traveller family accused of keeping a man as a slave took him to see his football team play and threw him a 21st birthday, Oxford Crown Court was told this morning.

Update: Missing teenager Michaela Rose from Chipping Norton found

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

7:50am Thursday 8th October 2015

MISSING teen Michaela Rose from Chipping Norton was found safe and well last night. 


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