Sunday, November 1, 2009

140-Million-Year-Old Spider Web Found

The oldest known spider web (to date) has been found. It's 140 million years old and it's been preserved in amber or fossilized tree sap. The amber had preserved it as it was all that time including the droplets that resemble those found in modern day webs of orb-web garden spiders (see microscopy images above). According to lead researcher Martin Brasier of the University of Oxford, the find shows the earliest webs that are incorporated in the fossil record.

The strands of fossilized spider webs were reconstructed using computer-aided technology called confocal microscopy. The findings suggest that the spiders that lived those millions of years ago also fed on insects that are the ancestors of modern day species. Other things preserved in the amber along with the webs are insect droppings, plant matter, and even microbes.

FLASH: Largest web-spinning spider discovered.

This orb-web golden spider (see video that follows) is the largest web-spinning spider ever discovered. It's as broad as an optical disc. Interestingly, the discovery is based on dead spider remains in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. The new species of orb-weaver spider, Nephila komaci is found to be larger than other Nephila species. For trivia's sake, you might be interested to know the largest spider in the world non-web spinning) is the Goliath Bird Eater (Theraphosa blondi).

This red-light-eyed giant tarantula spider looks real and even feels real with it's furry exoskeleton. But it's just a toy and it's remote controlled so you can scare the wits out of your friends and neighbors! Click here or on the image to place your order.

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