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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
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Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
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ScienceShot: Gotcha! Spider Silk Grabs Electrically Charged Insects in Midair
4 July 2013 9:00 am
Like socks on carpet, insects build up static electricity as they fly. And that can be a bad thing when it comes to spider webs. Certain strands of spider silk are attracted to statically charged objects, according to a new study, enhancing an arachnid's ability to catch prey. In lab tests conducted in an environment isolated from electrical fields, researchers dropped a variety of freshly killed insects down through a spider web that had been recently collected near the lab. High-speed video revealed that individual strands of spider silk, especially those flexible filaments running in spirals around the center of the web (a cross spider, Araneus diadematus, shown), flexed as much as 2 millimeters toward a statically charged insect, but wern't influenced at all by uncharged insects passing near the strands. The silk flexed quickly, too, at an average speed sometimes approaching 2 meters per second, the researchers report today in Scientific Reports. Static electricity isn't all bad for insects, however. Studies published earlier this year reveal that bugs can use the electrical fields that build up on their bodies to communicate with each other and identify flowers that might have been recently visited by another insect .
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