author={Brook O. Swanson and Todd A. Blackledge and Adam P. Summers and Cheryl Y. Hayashi},
  booktitle={Evolution; international journal of organic evolution},
Abstract The evolution of biological materials is a critical, yet poorly understood, component in the generation of biodiversity. For example, the diversification of spiders is correlated with evolutionary changes in the way they use silk, and the material properties of these fibers, such as strength, toughness, extensibility, and stiffness, have profound effects on ecological function. Here, we examine the evolution of the material properties of dragline silk across a phylogenetically diverse… 

Spider capture silk: performance implications of variation in an exceptional biomaterial.

A large comparative data set is presented that allows examination of capture silk properties across orb-weaving spider species, finding that material properties vary greatly across species and some material and mechanical properties are evolutionarily correlated.

High-performance spider webs: integrating biomechanics, ecology and behaviour

An integrative, mechanistic approach to understanding silk and web function, as well as the selective pressures driving their evolution, will help uncover the potential impacts of environmental change and species invasions on spider success.

The evolution of complex biomaterial performance: The case of spider silk.

New data on material properties of silk from nine species of spiders in the Mesothelae and Mygalomorphae, the two basal clades of spiders, support the hypothesis that the success and diversity seen in araneomorph spiders is associated with the evolution of this high-performance fiber.

Spider Silk: Molecular Structure and Function in Webs

All spiders produce silk, and most produce multiple types of silk fibers. How these silks function in prey capture webs provides a crucial link between the molecular biology of silk and spider

Web building and silk properties functionally covary among species of wolf spider

This study definitively showed an ecological influence over spider silk properties, and expects that the presence of the MaSp2‐like proteins and the subsequent nanostructures improves the mechanical performance of silks within the webs.

Evolution of supercontraction in spider silk: structure–function relationship from tarantulas to orb-weavers

SUMMARY Spider silk is a promising biomaterial with impressive performance. However, some spider silks also ‘supercontract’ when exposed to water, shrinking by up to ∼50% in length. Supercontraction

Protein families, natural history and biotechnological aspects of spider silk.

This review presents descriptions of members from each family of spidroin identified from five spider species of the Brazilian biodiversity, and an evolutionary study of them in correlation with the anatomical specialization of glands and spider's spinning behaviors.

Early Events in the Evolution of Spider Silk Genes

A surprisingly rich silk gene diversity is uncovered from the silk glands of six mygalomorph species, a mesothele, and a non-orbicularian araneomorph, and in particular, ECP homologs are found in the mesothle, suggesting that ECPs were present in the common ancestor of extant spiders, and originally were not specialized to complex with tubuliform spidroins.

Sequential origin in the high performance properties of orb spider dragline silk

Key changes in MA silk proteins correlate with the sequential evolution high performance orb spider silk and could aid design of biomimetic fibers.

Unravelling the secrets of silk: an in-depth biochemical analysis of spider and silkworm silk

This thesis highlights the need for a biologically minded and holistic study of biomaterials such as silk, to understand all the factors that help organisms achieve such incredible and complex materials.



Modular evolution of egg case silk genes across orb-weaving spider superfamilies.

Spider fibroin TuSp1 appears to be the major component of tubuliform gland silk, a fiber exclusively synthesized by female spiders for egg case construction, and repetitive architecture is a general feature of this gene family, consistent with a single origin of this ortholog group.

Silken toolkits: biomechanics of silk fibers spun by the orb web spider Argiope argentata (Fabricius 1775)

The mechanical performance of this toolkit of silks for the silver garden spider Argiope argentata is quantitatively measured and indicates substantial potential to customize the mechanics of bioengineered silks.

Variability in the mechanical properties of spider silks on three levels: interspecific, intraspecific and intraindividual.

Molecular studies of a novel dragline silk from a nursery web spider, Euprosthenops sp. (Pisauridae).

Analysis of major ampullate silk cDNAs from two non-orb-weaving spiders.

Four partial cDNA clones representing major ampullate spider silk gene transcripts from two non-orb weavers are isolated and sequenced, indicating that the repeats encoding conserved amino acid motifs that are characteristic of some orb-weaving spider silks are also found in some of the cDNAs reported in this study.

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.

Hypotheses that correlate the sequence, structure, and mechanical properties of spider silk proteins.

Evolution of the biomechanical material properties of the femur

Material properties of the first long bones 475 million years ago were conserved throughout evolution, and major locomotory challenges to femora during vertebrate evolution were almost solely accomplished by modifications of element size and shape.

Extreme Diversity, Conservation, and Convergence of Spider Silk Fibroin Sequences

Fibroin sequences from basal spider lineages reveal mosaics of amino acid motifs that differ radically from previously described spider silk sequences, implying that these sequences are central to understanding the exceptional mechanical properties of orb weaver silks.