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Reconstructing web evolution and spider diversification in the molecular era
- T. Blackledge, N. Scharff, I. Agnarsson
- BiologyProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
- 31 March 2009
A broad higher-level phylogeny of spiders is constructed combining molecular data with traditional morphological and behavioral characters to test the hypothesis that the spider orb web evolved only once, and finds strong support for a single origin of orb webs.
The Form and Function of Spider Orb Webs: Evolution from Silk to Ecosystems
Molecular and mechanical characterization of aciniform silk: uniformity of iterated sequence modules in a novel member of the spider silk fibroin gene family.
Comparisons of stress/strain curves for major ampullate, minor ampullates, and aciniform silks from Argiope trifasciata showed significant differences in ultimate strength, extensibility, and toughness.
Bioprospecting Finds the Toughest Biological Material: Extraordinary Silk from a Giant Riverine Orb Spider
Caerostris darwini produces the toughest known biomaterial, and this hypothesis predicts that rapid change in material properties of silk co-occurred with ecological shifts within the genus, and can be tested by combining material science, behavioral observations, and phylogenetics.
Viscoelastic solids explain spider web stickiness.
The adhesive forces required to separate a small microscopic probe after bringing it in contact with a single glue droplet are measured, which are highly rate-dependent and two orders of magnitude higher than the capillary forces.
Do stabilimenta in orb webs attract prey or defend spiders
It is shown that stabilimentum building is a defensive behavior, supporting the ‘‘web advertisement’’ hypothesis that the high visibility of stabilimenta can prevent birds from flying through webs and suggesting that much of the variation in stabilimentsa may be accounted for by a cost–benefit trade-off made when including stabilimento in webs.
Stabilimentum variation and foraging success in Argiope aurantia and Argiope trifasciata (Araneae: Araneidae)
- T. Blackledge
- 1 September 1998
The results argue against the prey attraction hypothesis, but not the predator defence hypothesis, since well-fed spiders invested more in stabilimenta.
Changes in the Adhesive Properties of Spider Aggregate Glue During the Evolution of Cobwebs
This work compares the prey capture glues produced by orb-weaving spiders and their evolutionary descendents, the cobweb- weaving spiders (gumfoot glue), and suggests that observed differences are due to different ‘tackifiers' used in these systems.
Signal conflict in spider webs driven by predators and prey
- T. Blackledge
- BiologyProceedings of the Royal Society of London…
- 22 October 1998
The innate colour preferences of insects, their ability to learn colours, and the spectral properties of flowers all suggest that the reflectance spectra of stabilimenta renders them relatively cryptic to many insect prey, while maintaining their visibility to vertebrate predators.
Are three-dimensional spider webs defensive adaptations?
It is argued that mud-dauber wasps are major predators of orbicularian spiders, and exert a directional selective pressure to construct three-dimensional webs such that three- dimensional webs are partly defensive innovations.