Physical characterization of the liquid adhesive from orb-weaving spiders

Mater Sci Eng C Mater Biol Appl. 2014 Jan 1;34:341-4. doi: 10.1016/j.msec.2013.09.030. Epub 2013 Sep 29.


Orb-weaving spiders produce bioadhesives that are used to capture their prey. In this paper, the physical properties of these adhesives are characterised. The liquid adhesive from Argiope argentata spiders has been studied and the morphological properties of the droplets, including size, shape and volume were determined. An estimation of viscosity and Young's modulus using atomic force microscopy has also been carried out. Morphological characterization confirmed that the liquid adhesive displayed a typical beads-on-a-string (BOAS) morphology on the silk fibres. The experimental data confirmed that the elastic modulus of the liquid adhesive from A. argentata was in the range 20-100kPa which is in agreement with the Dahlquist criterion for adhesives.

Keywords: Nanoindentation; Spider adhesive; Spider silk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adhesives / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Silk / chemistry*
  • Silk / ultrastructure
  • Spiders / chemistry*


  • Adhesives
  • Silk