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Scientists Discover the World’s Largest, Toughest Spider Web

Scientist have recently discovered that the web of Darwin’s Bark Spider is the largest in the world, and is also ten times more resistant that Kevlar.

Igni Agnarsson, from the University of Puerto Rico, first discovered Darwin’s Bark Spider and their giant webs, back in 2001, and knew he had to return to Madagascar and study these little creatures further. He did just that in 2008 and 2010, and his research revealed some pretty incredible data.

While it isn’t exactly the largest spider known to man (the female is larger than the male, and it only measures 3-4 cm, with its legs outstretched), Darwin’s Bark Spider spawns giant webs that reach up to 25 meters in length, with a main core of around 2.8 square meters. With webs this size, it’s now wonder the silky substance can withstand twice as much force as a normal spider’s, which makes it 10 times stronger than a similar piece of Kevlar, and thus, the strongest biological material ever found.

How, and why Darwin’s Bark Spider creates these giant webs is still a secret, but the fact that they are usually found across rivers and lakes suggests they mean to capture big insects that spent their young lives in a water environment, trapping them right when they take to the air. Birds and bats also pass right above the water, but there’s yet no evidence the spider web could trap such large prey.

 

 

 

 

 

Photos by Matjas Kuntner via National Geographic

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