Silky spider footprints

Tarantulas use foot-spun silk to hold tight in slippery situations

By Stephen Ornes, 17:55 PM June 7, 2011

This is Fluffy, a Mexican flame-kneed tarantula. Scientists suspect spiders like Fluffy can shoot silk from their feet.

When one of his foes knocks him down, Spider-Man doesn’t fall far: With a flick of his wrist, he saves himself with a spray of sticky webbing. Like that fictional superhero, tarantulas may have a similar way to keep from falling.

In a new study, scientists found that tarantulas can shoot silk from their feet. This little trick can come in handy, saving giant, hairy spiders from splattering after a long fall. Tarantulas create silk and shoot it from tiny devices in their abdomens called ...

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