Spider Silk Harvesting

Incidentally, this is also Facebook's business model:

A Golden Orb Weaver (Nephila edulis) is sedated with carbon dioxide gas, and pinned around her limbs and abdomen, keeping her in place without causing any harm. Silk is pulled by tweezer from the spinnerets and attached to the spool with a dab of glue after which the motor is started to begin harvesting. The silk produced here consists mainly of major ampullate silk which forms the main structure of the web (like scaffolding) and minor ampullate silk, which is used to form the main spiral of the spider's web. Nephila edulis females can produce up to six different types of silk.

It's possible to harvest between 30-80 metres of silk in one go, after which the spider can be released back to its web to feed ready for reeling another day.

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7 Responses:

  1. MattF says:

    Only a little bit disgusting. But that will be fixed by the next versions of children's books: "The ducky goes QUACK QUACK, the doggie goes BOW WOW, the spider goes MOO MOO."

  2. Tom Lord says:

    So the US silk industry in "Ghosts with shit jobs" is obsolete before it even gets started.

    • Chas. Owens says:

      No, no, no! There is a difference between free range spider silk and factory harvested spider silk. Free range spider silk is 80% happier.

  3. Justin Megawarne says:

    Related: largest spider silk garment in the world.

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/prospero/2012/01/spider-silk-va

    Waiting for the day they make spider silk hoodies.

    • Steve Nordquist says:

      That was pretty awesome, 7 years to turn it out or not...supposedly it shrinks when wet, but they got it dyed yellow anyhow.

      Hey kid, you wanted a secret hobby, right? My agile software test group thinks they have a way, but daddy thinks we should also have some plasma analogue handy...

  4. Steve Holmes says:

    What happened to the spider goats? I thought they were going to supply all our bulk spider silk needs. http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-16554357