Tarantulas Cling to Vertical Surfaces by Secreting Silk From Their Feet

Posted on May 17, 2011

Researchers have discovered that tarantulas cling to and climb straight up vertical surfaces by secreting silk from their feet. The study was led by neurobiologist F. Claire Rind of Newcastle University in England. Rind's research team used a fish tank lined with glass slides so they could prove that the webs were spun from spigots on the tarantulas' feet. The researchers found evidence of silk threads in the footprint on the slides.

There are some videos on YouTube of tarantulas climbing up the sides of glass terrariums. In this case some of the YouTube comments suggest the tarantula is climbing because its owner has not given it any place to hide in the cage.

Wired has some photographs here of close-up images of the slides and the bottom of tarantula feet.

The full research paper was published here in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

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