Watch this tiny spider shoot 80-foot-long strands of silk across a river

spider web
Screen capture BBC Earth/YouTube

Spider-Woman is real! This baffling she-spider spins giant webs with fiber stronger than steel.

Meet Darwin's bark spider (Caerostris darwini), an itsy-bitsy spider from Madagascar that proves once and for all that truth is stranger than fiction. Aside from these small creatures' odd sexual proclivities, they are able to spin and weave webs that would put Spider-Man to shame.

Often stretching more than 6.5 feet in diameter, the largest web recorded so far covered a stunning 30 square feet. They start by shooting a spray of silk across a body of water, which you can see in the video below. These bridges often measure in the 80-foot-long realm, and researchers can’t figure out where all of the silk comes from; where is that little thing hiding all of that webbing? Regardless, once they craft a web suspended from the bridge, they clean up with the unsuspecting prey that fly into the net.

The scale of it all is admirable enough, but the material itself might even be more remarkable – the silk is twice as elastic as that of other orb-web-weaving spider species. As well, as Live Science notes, the silk is “more than 10 times as strong as Kevlar, the material in bulletproof vests, as measured by the amount of strain the silk could handle before breaking.”

The BBC high-definition clip here gives a wonderful close-up glimpse into the spider’s arts – which is as mesmerizing as it is a bit terrifying.

Gratitude thought for the day: I am thankful that I'm not a mayfly about to meet the web of a Darwin's bark spider.

Tags: Animals | Insects | Nature

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