Differences between Spider Silk and Cocoon Silk

Chemistry, Technology
[caption id="attachment_17656" align="alignright" width="440"] The Madagascar golden orb spider silk cape. Image CCA-SA 3.0 Unported by Cmglee[/caption] Spider silk and cocoon silk... What, if any, are the differences between these two materials? Spider Silk: An Overview Spider silk is a derivative of the structural protein fibroin, which consists largely of alanine (ALA) and glycine (GLY) amino acid sub-units. These two acids constitute about 67% of the total. Serine and other amino acids make up the remainder. There is a variety of forms of spider silk. Different specific glands are responsible for the different forms of silk. Most notable among silk varieties are dragline silk and capture silk. How do these two varieties compare? Dragline Silk Dragline silk is strong, but possesses a measurable degree of flexibility and extensibility. This variety…
Read More

Micrathena Spider In Your Face

[caption id="attachment_4583" align="alignright" width="440"] Micrathena sagittata[/caption] To me, the best thing about August is that September is near. One thing I particularly hate about August is when I walk smack-dab into a spider web. Now Micrathena isn’t your ordinary-looking spider. It’s this incredibly ugly, spiky, humpbacked thing that scares the living daylights out of you. I call it (and at one time believed all called it) the Pyramid spider. Gradually for the rest of the year, I begin to forget the existence of this most cursed of spiders. Then, just when I least expect it... Micrathena Ninja When you bump into it, or rather into its web, you may suddenly become the neighborhood karate expert, chopping the air and spinning and crying out—AYAHH! Personally, I dance when I am smacked…
Read More