London: Spider webs reach out and grab airborne prey and particles thanks to electrostatic glue that coats their surface, a new study has revealed.
The research by scientists at Oxford University has revealed that the electrical properties of a glue that coats spider webs causes them to reach out to grab all charged particles, from pollen and pollutants to flying insects.
The study, aiming to explain why webs are able to spring towards prey and how they collect small airborne particles so efficiently, showed how a quirk of physics causes webs to move towards all airborne objects, regardless of whether they are positively or negatively charged.
According to lead researcher Professor Fritz Vollrath of Oxford University`s department of zoology, spider webs could be used for environmental monitoring as they actively filter airborne pollutants with the same accuracy as expensive industrial sensors.
The researchers showed that the webs also cause local distortions in the Earth`s electric field since they behave like conducting discs.
The study was published in journal Naturwissenschaften.