Research highlight

Materials science: Spider fangs get to the point

Nature Communications

May 28, 2014

The structural mechanics of spider fangs, which account for the efficiency with which spiders can attack and disable their prey, is revealed in Nature Communications this week.

The fangs of spiders must be able to withstand high mechanical stresses, for which they have evolved a unique architecture. Benny Bar-On and colleagues used simulation driven experiments on the fangs of a large wandering spider, Cupiennius salei, to understand how this architecture translates into an efficient hunting tool.

The study indicates that the naturally evolved fang structure results in highly adapted, effective structural stiffness and damage resilience. As well as enabling understanding of the function of spider fangs, these results may provide broader insight into a variety of sharp edge appendages seen in nature, including stingers, teeth and claws.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms4894

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