DR KEITH WHEELER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR KEITH WHEELER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Spider spinneret. Phase contrast light micrograph of one of a spider's six spinnerets, the structures used to produce its silk. The spinnerets are located at the rear of the abdomen. The base (left) of the spinneret is surrounded by hairs and barbs that assist the spinning of the silk threads. A chitinous ring surrounds the spinneret. At the tip (far right), there are as many as a hundred small spinning tubes (needle-like) which expel silk from glands at their base. The silk is used to construct webs and egg cases, and to catch the wind during dispersal of hatchlings. Magnification: x37 when printed at 10 centimetres tall.
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