Spider webs spring towards prey: Study

London, Dec 8: British scientists have discovered that spider webs actively spring towards prey, thanks to electrically conductive glue spread across their surface.

Oxford University, in a press release issued Sunday, said researchers have found that the electrostatic properties of the glue in the spider webs helps them to reach out to grab all charged particles, from pollen and pollutants to flying insects.

The scientists also believe that the common garden spider webs around the world could be used for environmental monitoring as they actively filter airborne pollutants with an efficiency comparable to expensive industrial sensors.

“The elegant physics of these webs make them perfect active filters of airborne pollutants including aerosols and pesticides, professor Fritz Vollrath of Oxford University’s Department of Zoology, who led the study, said.

Vollrath said that electrical attraction drags particles to the webs, so one can harvest and test webs to monitor pollution levels.