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Study Challenges Spiders In Space To Make A Web In Zero Gravity

Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:53 pm

On Earth, spiders build asymmetrical webs with the center closer to the top of the web than the bottom. This is beneficial as when scurrying to catch some food the spiders are working with gravity rather than against it.

When spiders are at rest, their heads are pointed towards the ground for the same reason. So, if you take away gravity as an environmental factor to work with or against, what does a web look like?

To find out, astronauts took some spiders (arachnauts, if you please) to the ISS. Their subjects were two juveniles, Trichonephila clavipes, spiders who were observed for two months building webs in zero gravity.

Their efforts were photographed every five minutes during this time and compared against the same data collected about two spiders in nearly the exact same experimental conditions except that they were down on Earth.

Continued...
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 Study Challenges Spiders In Space To Make A Web In Zero Gravity 334pu7m
Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:55 pm

 Study Challenges Spiders In Space To Make A Web In Zero Gravity Content-1607704195-spiders-in-space-2
Zschokke et al 2021, The Science of Nature.

Without gravity, the spiders created mostly symmetrical webs but orientated themselves and their web's hub based on the position of the light.

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 Study Challenges Spiders In Space To Make A Web In Zero Gravity 334pu7m
Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:56 pm

 Study Challenges Spiders In Space To Make A Web In Zero Gravity Content-1607698494-spiders-in-space-3
Zschokke et al 2021, The Science of Nature.

The above two spiders created their assymetrical webs on Earth, orientating themselves to face the ground.

Source / Image Courtesy


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 Study Challenges Spiders In Space To Make A Web In Zero Gravity 334pu7m
Dragon
Dragon
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Post by Dragon Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:57 pm



Weightless Webs: Spiders on the Space Station


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