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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Spiders' Silk Slippers Help Them Stick
16 May 2011 4:54 pm
By all laws of physics, spiders as big and heavy as tarantulas shouldn't be able to climb walls or hang upside down—they should fall on their heads. But tarantulas do climb, albeit with difficulty, and researchers decided to find out how. So they collected the molted skins of several species of tarantulas, including the lead author's own dearly departed pet, Fluffy (pictured above). The bottoms of their fuzzy feet, it turns out, are covered with microscopic hairs, some of which serve as "spigots" for a sticky silk, which they only turn on when they start to fall. Since most spiders produce silk from spinnerets on their abdomens, the finding might help explain how spiders evolved so many uses for their silk, the researchers report in the June issue of The Journal of Experimental Biology. It also explains why tarantulas leave little silky footprints wherever they walk.
See more ScienceShots.