Questions for ‘A spider’s feet hold a hairy, sticky secret’

a greyish brown tiger wandering spider perches on a leaf

Meet the tiger wandering spider, a favorite among scientists who study arachnids. In a new study, researchers studied this kind of spider to better understand how tiny hairs at the end of their legs help these creatures stick anywhere.

Sergio Amiti/Getty Images

To accompany “A spider’s feet hold a hairy, sticky secret


Before Reading:

1.  Like the fictional Spider-Man, spiders and many other animals can easily scale walls, scamper across ceilings and affix themselves to other surfaces. Name as many different types of animals as you can that can do this, which people and dogs, for instance, cannot.

During Reading:

1.  What is the name for the way that spiders attach themselves to upright (and even upside down) surfaces?

2.  What are spatulae, where are they and what role do they appear to play in the spider’s ability to adhere to any surface?

3.  To what do the spatulae bond?

4.  What happened when Schaber Clemens’s team first tried to pull hair tufts off of a spider’s leg?

5.  In what direction do the hairs on a spider’s leg point? What does Sarah Stellwagen say about the value of the direction in which those hairs are oriented?

6.  Schaber’s team developed a new glove. What does he describe as its amazing feat?

After Reading:

1.  In most cases, the way that wall-climbing animals adhere to surfaces won’t easily work with far larger animals (such as people). Is that likely also to be true for the new technology described in this story? Explain why or why not, using information you derived from the story.