The secondary frame in spider orb webs: the detail that makes the difference Articles uri icon

publication date

  • August 2016

volume

  • 6

international standard serial number (ISSN)

  • 2045-2322

abstract

  • Spider orb webs are multifunctional structures, the main function of which is to dissipate the kinetic energy of the impacting prey, while minimizing structural damage. There is no single explanation for their remarkable strength and ductility. However, it is clear that topology is decisive in the structural performance upon impact, and the arrangement of the different silk threads in the web must also exert an effect. The aim of this study is to show how a slight variation in the geometry markedly affects the prey-capture ability of spider orb webs. The study is focused on the secondary frame, a thread interposed between radial and primary frame strands, the importance of which has not been examined until now. The simulation of the impact performance of webs using different lengths of the secondary frame clarifies its structural role, which has proven to be decisive. Furthermore, the study explains why secondary frame threads of moderate length, as commonly encountered, enable the capture of prey with higher energy without a marked increase in the volume of silk used.

keywords

  • Silk fibrils; Behavior; Araneae; Design; Performance; Uloboridae; Toughness; Strength