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Can spider build Webs in Space?

 Can spider build webs in Space?


Experiment of NASA with spider in Space on board the skylab and ISS.

About 400 km above the Earth, the International Space Station has house not only humans but also various critter including frogs, snails, ants, rats, flocks of flies and more than a million germs are there.

Two european garden spider

In July 1973 The spiders were first sent into space. Two European garden spiders were sent to the then US space station Skylab to see if they could make webs in zero gravity.

Spider's webs are in irregular shaped

While spiders can weave or build webs into space, researchers found that the webs were irregularly shaped.

They cannot conclude that due to lack of gravity or lack of food and moisture, spiders create distorted webs. Only five photographs could be taken of the webs.

Two species

In 2008, NASA decided to resend the spiders. They mainly sent two species as study species, the ( metepeira labyrinth ) orbweaver as the main study species, and one species of ( Larinioides patagiatus ) orb weaver as a backup.

They also sent small fruit fly colonies to provide continuous food for the spiders.

The backup spider escaped from his chamber and entered the main chamber. Now both spiders in the same chamber started making webs as a result of random silk varieties.

In addition, fruit fly larvae had unlimited access to food and their population grew much more than expected.

In 2011, two Golden Silk orb-weavers were sent to the International Space Station. He planned to use four females for the experiment, two seen in space and two on earth.

But researchers could not tell the sex of the juvenile spiders and the two males came out. Fortunately there was a man and a woman on the ground and in space.

Spider webs

Under natural conditions, these spiders form asymmetric webs, with centers close to the top. They then lay on the top half of the webs with their head downwards. In this way, gravity helps the spider escape towards prey caught in the web.

A new paper published in the Science Journal of Nature has now noted that the webs produced by spiders in space were quite symmetrical. But when the light was on, they made asymmetric webs with the center near the light source.


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