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“Darwin’s bark spider or C. darwini,” as it is referenced, makes one of the largest known webs and suspends the giant webs across rivers and lakes, according to the researchers. The scientists say these spiders achieve this feat by using the toughest, most energy-absorbent silk ever discovered, stronger than any other known biological material and most manmade varieties. They publish their findings in the Sept. 15 and 16, 2010 issues, respectively, of the Journal of Arachnology and the PLoS One interactive open-access journal for the communication of all peer-reviewed scientific and medical research published by the Public Library of Science.
In their PLoS ONE paper, Agnarsson, Kuntner and Blackledge report on the testing of material properties of Darwin’s bark spider. The authors predicted that the expansive webs would be spun using extraordinary silk and they proved their prediction correct. First, the researchers considered that spider silks already combine high strength with elasticity, demonstrate exceptional toughness and are able to absorb three times more energy than Kevlar (a high-strength synthetic fiber) before breaking. The scientists prove that Darwin’s bark spider silk is about 100 percent tougher than any other known silk. Subsequently, this spider species produces the toughest biological material known.