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The brown recluse spider engineers extra-strong silk by spinning loops onto a flat strand

It helps to know a little about the brown recluse to fully understand the discovery about what makes the silk of this particular spider so strong. An international collaboration has discovered that the brown recluse makes extra-tough silk by spinning loops into each strand. Examination of natural silks continues to provide insight into new synthetic materials and the silk of the brown recluse is particularly promising because of its relative strength. The team explained that all species of spiders produce strands of silk that are essentially protein cablets, more or less round in cross section. But the brown recluse’s web is different in many respects — and is totally unique.

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