Have you ever wondered why spider webs take so long to rot? I admittedly have never really wondered about this, but upon coming across this study in the Journal of Experimental Biology about spider webs, it suddenly dawned at me that spider webs do in fact last for a long time. They rarely appear to be covered in any sort of mold.
The scientists who conducted this study learned that the reason spider webs don’t rot easily is because it's harder for bacteria to access the nitrogen in their silk. They don’t know why that is, but their hypothesis is that there is an extra layer of coating on the silk that blocks bacteria’s access to the nitrogen. Scientists had previously assumed that spider silk might even kill bacteria altogether, but they found that by wetting the silk, it became easy for the bacteria to access the nitrogen and thus multiply and do their thing.
Given that we just completed Halloween, I thought it would be fun to learn a little bit more about our spider friends who kill insects and do a great job at keeping our environment up and running!