Spiders and spider webs.
Spiders webs consist of special interwoven and interconnected spider silk threads which spiders use in a number of ways – to trap prey, to immobilise prey by wrapping it in the silk and injecting venom in the prey, as a home and as a dangling line which will hold them if they jump away from the web. Females will spin silk into a cocoon for their eggs.
Spider silk is very strong but light, with a combination of elasticity and mechanical strength. It softens when first pulled and hardens as the pulling force increases. It can be slippery and sticky and can stretch approximately 30% longer than its original length. Silk is acidic and not degraded by bacteria and fungi.
There is ongoing research into industrial uses such as in making strong, light protective gear, medicinal uses including applications in wound healing and in the manufacture of synthetic adhesives.
Increasing urbanisation and pesticide/insecticide use are affecting the numbers of these familiar, beneficial, yet often overlooked spiders.
She continues her interest in Childrens nature education and nature photography.