World's largest, strongest spider webs

 Wpf Media-Live Photos 000 261 Cache Huge-Spider-Webs-Kid 26176 600X450 This massive spider web in Madagascar was woven by Darwin's bark spider, a recently-discovered arachnid that uses its incredibly-strong silk, ten times tougter than Kevlar, to make the world's largest webs. These spiders are known to make orb webs in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park up to 2.8 meters square anchored by 25-meter threads. More photos at National Geographic, and the scientists' reports in PLoS ONE.


  1. Word to the wise: spiders are not insects. Insects have six legs and a body with three sections (head, thorax, abdomen). Spiders are chelicerates; they have eight legs and a body with two sections (cephalothorax, abdomen).

  2. Beautiful! That particular Darwin’s Bark Spider looks like he might want to lay off the coffee for a bit though…

  3. The good news, it’s tough silk.
    The bad news is tough doesn’t mean what you think it does here. It’s very stretchy, which means it can store lots of energy. So if you tried to make a vest from it, it would stretch and finally stop a bullet as it came out your back. But the vest would remain intact.

    No good for ropes or suspension bridge. Both would be bouncy.

    But it would be good for bungee cords and spandex.

  4. The present theory (as I understand it) is that Madagascar’s extinct population of flightless birds (Aepyornidae) were the environmental stimulant for the development of high-tensile silks in Madagascarene arachnids.

    The sequence of events is theorized as such: with the arrival of Austronesian settlers in the 3rd century CE, the native populations of Elephant Birds and smaller flightless avians were quickly reduced, becoming extinct by the 16th century, though medium-sized Aepyornids were likely hunted to extinction much earlier. With their elimination, the enormous arachnids which trapped and drained these massive avians in graphite-strength webs were immediately doomed.

    Early Malagasy spider-cults support the theory. The Bariata tribe of the remote northern interior made offerings to eight-legged, arachnoidal figures charcoal painted across exposed rock faces; the largest of these found to date measured some 22 meters across, though the living spiders are assumed (by physiological necessity) to have been only a fraction of this size.

    Based on oral traditions among the Bariata and other tribes, as well as the tensile strength of extant endemic arachnid silks, the upper range for Madagascar’s extinct spiders was .75m (carapace diameter) and nearly 3m (leg-spread).

    Good morning.

    1. hahaha poor Elephant birds! I’ll tell ya, if I was an early settler and came across a spider with those measurements, I’d high-tail it back to my boat and paddle the F**k back to where I came from Post Haste! Assuming I didn’t stroke out at the first sight.

      What a horrible thought. Not even a delicious Aepyornid drumstick would change my mind. . .

    2. the upper range for Madagascar’s extinct spiders was .75m (carapace diameter) and nearly 3m (leg-spread).

      No, I guess I wouldn’t call her “Attercop” either.

    3. I have a different response to the thought of the extinct giant spiders of Madagascar than other posters above have…since lobsters, arachnid relatives that they are, are so tasty, I wonder how those big spider legs would have tasted, if properly cooked.
      Maybe that’s the real reason they were apparently worshiped!

  5. The gentleman’s expression is priceless. He seems to be staring at something just outside the camera frame behind the photographer…

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