I’m sure You must have heard the fact that spider silk is stronger than steel?
However how strong are spiders themselves? They certainly must be Super Strong?
In this article, we will find out how strong are spiders, how much weight can they lift and move around since they are often seen praying on insects much larger than themselves.
How much can a spider lift?
The strongest spider ( Darwin’s Bark spider ) Could lift up to 80grams which is impressive considering it weighs only 0.5g itself, it’s silk is approximately twice as strong as any other spider silk .Gram for gram, spider silk is stronger than steel and some of these silks are stronger than Kevlar, though not all.
There are differences between different spiders and some of them can’t lift as much, we’ll explore this in more detail in this article.
How strong are spiders, are they super strong?
In proportion to their size and weight, spiders are incredibly strong.
If you compare how much a spider can lift to how much a human can lift, accounting for proportions a spider is about 250 times stronger than the average human.
Despite their obvious strength, they are still not the strongest animal in the world.
Currently the dung beetle holds the record for world’s strongest animal compared to its body weight.
What is the Strongest Spider and how much can it lift?
As mentioned earlier, the Darwin’s Bark Spider is the strongest spider to have been discovered.
The silk produced by this spider has shown to be 10 times as strong as Kevlar and is at least twice as strong as any other spider silk.
There are conflicting reports about how much a spider can lift, this obviously varies between the species and individual spiders.
But using the highest known average of how much other spiders can lift, the Darwin’s spider should be able to lift up to 80g, which is impressive considering it is only 0.5g itself.
However, solid research has not yet been conducted on this.
Also read: Spiders with Long Legs
How many times can a spider lift its own Weight?
This is another conflicting topic among researchers, made more difficult by the differing amounts that each spider can lift.
There is a wide variation between the conclusions reached on this topic, some scientists saying that spiders can lift an average of 8 times their own weight, some say its 100 times and some say it is up to 170 times their own weight.
Taking this with a pinch of salt, we’ll say that a spider can at least lift eight times its body weight, but some spiders can lift much more.
How much can a Tarantula lift, are they strong?
Tarantulas are often seen as some of the strongest spiders, considering the force of their bite and objects they have been seen moving around their cages.
However, the objects a tarantula have been seen moving only equate to about 8 times their body weight, putting them on the lower end of the spider strength scale.
Because they are very large spiders, what they move can seen as much more impressive but gram for gram, they are not as strong as a lot of other spiders.
Also read: Does Killing a Spider Attract Other Spiders
How much can a jumping spider lift, are they strong?
The calculated grip of the jumping spider puts it on the highest end of the spider strength scale, being able to grip and lift 170 times its own body weight.
They can also generate the force needed to jump about 50 times their own body length which is very impressive.
So yes, jumping spiders are very strong but as their silk is not as strong as the Darwin’s Bark Spider, they are not classed as the world’s strongest spider.
Spider Silk Strength
I’ve mentioned before the impressive strength of the spider silk, but there are different measurements that account for strength such as durability.
Below these have been broken down into smaller sections so we can look at why and how spider silk is so strong.
How strong and durable are spider webs?
Spider webs are very durable, this is tested in labs by applying different levels of forces to the strung webs to see how much they can handle before breaking.
In the wild, webs have been known to catch small animals like bats and birds without breaking.
One of the reasons that spider webs are designed so intricately is because it actually increases the durability of the web.
The designs allow for greater elasticity and therefore more force needs to be applied to damage it.
However, they do not hold the record for strongest natural material, they come just short of Limpet teeth which took spider silk’s top spot a few years back.
So, in short, spider webs are very strong and durable.
Learn More: Spider webs in Trees
How much can a spider web hold
Spider webs can hold a good hefty amount of weight for their size, some species of spiders use their webs to hold their spider egg nests.
Spiders webs are designed for catching their prey and the smallest of webs is able to hold several insects before retaining any damage.
There has actually been an experiment conducted in Toronto where a spider was made to consume certain nanomaterials and it could spin a web that was able to hold up a human.
Controversy aside, this shows that with the right conditions, spider webs can hold much more than expected.
Is spider silk stronger than steel?
Just a few years ago, people were claiming that spider silk was not stronger than steel.
But recently, new spiders and types of spider silks have been discovered that prove it is stronger than steel in terms of its weight.
In terms of its size, spider silk is around five times stronger than steel of the same diameter.
Is spider silk stronger than Kevlar?
Kevlar is a military grade material which is used in the production of bullet proof vests.
The silk of an average spider has a tensile strength of 1.1GPa whilst Kevlar’s tensile strength is 3.0GPa.
That being said, the Darwin’s Bark Spider has recently proved that its own silk is 10 times as strong as Kevlar.
Right now, thousands of spider silks have not yet been thoroughly tested, with less than 1% of species being extensively researched on.
After further research is done, it is possible the average of spider silks not being stronger than Kevlar will skew, as we know it is now possible.
Is a spider web stronger than a diamond?
Despite Spider silk’s obvious strength, it is not as strong as diamonds.
The carbon structure of diamond makes it one of the strongest things on earth.
However, it is still very close in strength to that of a diamond, perhaps there will be a spider studied in the future that does have silk stronger than a diamond.
Why is spider silk so strong?
We’ve covered how strong spider silk is, but why is it that way?
The simple answer is proteins. Spider silk contains proteins called spidroins, these proteins are made in a spider’s silk glands.
They work by helping form the thick paste that is eventually spun into fibres and spider silk.
The addition of these proteins make the silk much stronger.
They also increase elasticity, which was once thought of as a weakness, but the elasticity actually helps keep the web from taking damage.
Could a spider web stop a plane if it were large enough?
This seems to be one of the fun science questions that everyone wants to know the answer to. It has also been surprisingly heavily researched.
There is a lot of maths and physics that come into play when trying to calculate this but to keep it simple, yes a spider web could theoretically stop a plane.
To stop a Boeing-47 you would need a spider silk rope with a length of 1km and a diameter of 21.4cm.
To produce a spider silk rope like this, approximately three billion Nephila spiders would be needed.
A spider silk rope is theoretically one of the safer ways to stop a plane as well, it is suggested that the elasticity would produce less damage to the plane.
Hopefully, we’ll never need a reason to put it into practice.
Do Spiders eat their Silk?
Spiders eating their silk, surely not, that seems weird right? Actually, they do eat their silk.
A lot of spiders will eat their webs after it has served its purpose so that it can recycle the proteins used to make said web.
This web eating is usually conducted on a daily basis so that the proteins will be recycled for spinning silk the next day.
Also read: Can Spiders Smell
Are spiders stronger than ants, can they lift more weight?
In terms of size and weight, ants are usually much stronger than spiders.
Some ants can apparently carry up to 5000 times their body weight, although this is still speculated and researched by scientists.
Are spiders stronger than scorpions, can they lift more weight?
There is much less research on how strong scorpions are in comparison to spiders.
Pet owners have noticed scorpions lifting weights similar that some spiders have, but due to the lack of research we can only estimate that they have similar strength levels.
How strong would a human-sized spider be?
Researched and debated by scientists and comic book enthusiasts alike, a human-sized spider would be incredibly strong.
If a spider can lift 170 times its body weight, then a human spider could lift about 25,000 pounds.
This is about the same mass that Spider-man can lift, so the comics do have some scientific accuracy.