Power of the web: The secret of how spiders catch their prey

Spider web

Spider web (Photo credit: Marcelo Tourne)

I rather like spiders and now this fascinating piece of research shows that they can generate electricity as well – each web is its own grid.  Perhaps we’ve found the solution to renewable energy – billions of spider farms across the world, truly a world-wide web.







Cast your strands,
silken bands that feel
like steel entrapment, hawser-taut,
to prey that’s caught, wrapped by cryptic mesh that seems alive.
It swings and jives, attracting creatures flying by. Siren-lured, as spell-bound by a trick?
No magic, just electric power, deception, charged conductive glue across your grid,
a hidden force that draws them in, midges, flies and gnats.
Distracted, diverted in flight,
ravelled tight inside
spider’s web.


7th December 2013 – headline from the Independent

Notes:  “Power of the web: The secret of how spiders catch their prey.”  Spun from silk, with the strength of steel but with extraordinary elasticity, a spider’s web has long been regarded as one of Mother Nature’s most amazing feats. Now scientists at Oxford University have revealed another unique quality – webs actively spring towards prey thanks to electrically conductive glue spread across their surface.  Researchers discovered that the electrical properties of a glue that coats spider webs causes them to reach out to grab all charged particles, from pollen and pollutants to flying insects.

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