Spider silk comes in many forms. Nanoscale strands of glue-coated silk rapidly attach the thicker dragline thread (blue) securely to any material. These sticky threads emerge from the spider and attach to the surface in less than a second. The attachment complex is extremely sticky and distributes stresses efficiently with a minimal amount of material. This brings opportunities for us to learn how to create stronger adhesives.

Imaged using 3D electron microscopy by Dr Jonas Wolff, Macquarie University and Dr Minh Huynh, University of Sydney.

Size: the attachment complex is about 300 micrometres in diameter.