Spider silk properties tracked from genes to fibre mechanics

Spider major ampullate silk (MA) is natures’ toughest fibre. There is thus immense interest among scientists across different fields in the attainment of an understanding about why and how spiders produce such amazing fibres. Accordingly there are now many publications on MA silk genetic expression patterns, secondary and tertiary protein structures, silk fibre physical and…


Hickmania troglodytes on cover of Journal of Zoology


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Our paper “Ontogenetic shift towards stronger, tougher silk in a web building cave spider” has been published in the February 2018 issue of Journal of Zoology as the cover page article.

see: http://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/hub/issue/10.1111/jzo.2018.304.issue-2/


Tasmania trip

Sean, Dakota Piorkowski, Hamish Craig, Jian Fang, Xungai Wang, Niall Doran conducted field work in Tasmania between October 15-October 19, collecting Hickmania troglodytes spiders and glow worm silks.

Biomimetics research re-examined

Biomimetics (the transfer of functional principals from living systems into designs) is a rapidly growing field of research. Nevertheless, gauging how useful it has been as a tool for developing new products and technologies is difficult, as the field is currently ill defined and real, tangible outputs have so far been few. Moreover, it is…


“16 Legs” documentary at International Congress of Speleology

On July 25 2017 the documentary movie “16 Legs” about Tasmania, Tasmanian caves, and cave spiders (Hickmania troglodytes) and glow worms featured at the International Congress of Speleology at Penrith Leagues Club, Penrith. The documentary features footage from a 2015 field expedition to Tasmania by Dakota Piorkowski and Hamish Craig to collect spiders and spider…