Are spiders' webs edible?

04 November 2007

Question

Are spiders' webs edible? As they're made of protein.

Answer

Chris Smith untangled this sticky question...

Spiders do eat their webs. The web material is protein, so spiders do consume them them, sometimes every day, to recover some of the energy they've expended on building them in the first place.

Another interesting use of spider webs is that they've got quite a lot of a vitamin K in them, which can help your blood to clot; and before the use of gauze, people used to put spider webs on wounds!

People are currently looking into what makes spider webs so strong, with the hope of making the material artificially: spiders' webs would make great bullet-proof vests.

They've found the proteins in them that make them strong, called Spidroin 1 and Spidroin 2, and you can produce these in the lab. But they have to use insect cells to grow it, because the insect cells do some chemical modification and insects are more closely related to spiders.

They're not at the point where you can scale it up to a bullet-proof vest yet, but it's certainly interesting!

Comments

It is good to have daddy long legs in the house for first aid kit...i use webb for minor cuts...butt it has to be clean webb...it do stop up the bleeding "its really interesting!"

Can you eat a spider web

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