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Spider Silk – the Next Sustainable Resource?

Posted on Jun 3, 2017

Golden-orb Weaver (Nephila clavipes )

Spider silk is the world’s strongest natural fiber known – it is incredibly durable but also extremely lightweight and flexible. One strand of spider silk is one-tenth the thickness of a human hair, and its flexibility resembles that of thread. These qualities are unmatched by other fibers, such as cotton or nylon, giving it a wide variety of industrial applications. The value of spider silk is increased by the fact that it can be a renewable resource.

RTPI conservation staff works with the Forman School during research expeditions in Costa Rica to explore the potential to “farm” Golden Orb Weaver (Nephila clavipes) spiders for their silk – an endeavor which could not only benefit the spiders by improving their creepy reputation, but also provide an alternative to more detrimental uses of rainforest resources which often result in the destruction of vital habitat. The ultimate goal of this project is to establish a fair trade between local farmers in Costa Rica and a new sustainable industry! Check out this wonderful video about the project created by Orbitist!