Unsettlingly, it appears that spiders' legs really do have minds of their own.
The glue that gives spider webs their stickiness is a form of spider silk protein. Researchers can imagine cool uses for a synthetic version – but had to wait for the tricky glue gene to be sequenced.
Spiders use different types of silk for different purposes – and not all of them are as strong as steel.
Believe it or not, I have studied the hairy legs of spiders for years and can give you some definitive answers on this.
Autumn is spider season. It's worth getting to know more about our eight-legged friends.
If we could mimic spider silk, it could revolutionise the fibres we use on a daily basis.
Spider silk is strong stuff and could be used to manufacture ultra tough ropes and cables, and better sutures in medicine. If only we could find a way to make the stuff.
Spider silk coated in nano-tubing could become a new material used in everyday electronics. Known as the the toughest material…