A newly identified species of spider called “The Darwin’s Bark Spider” has created a web that spans eighty whole feet across a river in Madagascar. The webs that this type of spider creates are known to be the largest spider webs on record.
Given the colossal size of this spider web you would think that it was meant to catch large birds, but the Darwin’s Bark Spider feeds mainly on small insects such as mayflies and dragonflies. These webs are created by the females of the species. Younger male spiders have also been known to create large webs, but once the male spiders reach a mature age they give up web spinning to focus solely on mating.
Researchers analyzed the silk from this species of spider and discovered that it is the toughest spider silk known to man, which also makes it the strongest biological material known to man. However, researchers have not yet determined how these particular spiders are capable of creating webs that span over large bodies of water.
Could this type of spider be raised in large quantities in a laboratory for the purpose of retaining its silk for industrial production? And if it could what would the silk be used to make?