How do spiders make silk? And other questions to explore in October
Spiders can do some amazing things with their sticky, stretchy, and super-strong silk. Us cats are pretty curious about these little silk-spinning machines, too. Besides chasing spiders around, I’ve watched them use silk to build webs, catch bugs, and protect their young spiderlings.
You are onto something. Quick, to the bat-lab! That’s where I met up with my friend Christine Portfors, a scientist at Washington State University who studies fruit bats.
Ever since I was a kitten, I’ve loved picking up big maple leaves in the fall. I’d take them home, put them under a piece of paper, and rub the side of a crayon over the top. It makes a great print of the leaf.
Most spiders have quite a few eyes, but they usually can’t see very well. Then again, seeing isn’t everything. That’s what I found out when I went to visit my friend Rich Zack, a scientist at Washington State University who knows a lot about insects and spiders.
Just the other day I was biting into a crunchy, delicious red apple when I was reminded of your question. I started wondering why apples are red, too. I called up my friend and apple expert Kate Evans, a scientist here at Washington State University. Her research helps us develop new kinds of apples.
A couple months before you were born, your skeleton was soft and bendy. It was made out of cartilage, the same material that’s in your nose and ears now. But when certain cells in your body called osteoblasts and osteoclasts began to work together, new bone started to form.