Spider webs: dew-loading of the linyphiid sheet-web

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Abstract

When fully dew-laden the sheet-web of the spider Frontinellina frutetorum Koch (Araneae, Linyphiidae) stretches by an estimated 66%, well beyond the breadking strain of structural silk threads in air (19–25%). Tests showed that non-sticky threads of the araneid spider Zygiella x-notata could stretch by up to 55% after immersion in water. Implications of water-induced hyper-elasticity for web design and loading tolerance are discussed.

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