Monthly Archives: March 2015

2015 RAINFOREST PROJECT

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We Have Arrived!

Screen Shot 2015-03-04 at 9.08.57 AM

Click here to see the exact location of where the Rainforest Team is in Costa Rica!

Procedure for Spider Silking

Equipment

  1. Four Silk Extractors- made out of aluminium
  2. Tool Kit
  3. Level ruler
  4. Windshield wiper battery
  5. Spider collection jars
  6. Rite in the rain notebooks
  7. Flagging tape
  8. Duct tape
  9. Slingshot
  10. Black light
  11. Light meter
  12. Bike counters
  13. Rubber bands

Procedure for Spider Silking

The spider silk extractor is one of Forman School’s own patented design, consisting of three parts to it; this comprises of the box itself, the wheel and the handle for spinning the wheel. Everything is stored away in the confinements of the box whilst unused, but when needed for the extraction process, the pieces of this contraption is assembled together.

Now that the new spider silking mechanisms have arrived, fully remade into aluminum, we can begin a proper and more sophisticated method of extracting the silk from the Nephila Clavipes. There will be no more warping in the wood and everything will become more solid and accurate, which will aid in getting precise data.

Because extracting web from a golden orb weaver is a very delicate process, people involved are designated jobs. The first person, denoted as A, handles the spiders and does the collecting of the spider silk. The second person, denoted as B, spins the wheel on the extractor to ensure the collection. The third person, denoted as C, records all the data on a notebook, as well as a glacier computer.

  1. Person A transports the spider from its web to the location of extraction, using cupped hands so as to not harm the spider
  2. Person C uses the light meter to measure the amount of lumens hitting the silk. The spider’s number, the time of day, and other variables that can factor the silking are also recorded.
  3. The spider is brought to the wheel of the silk extractors, and is prepared to release it’s webbing by allowing the spider to create the sticky disc on Person A’s hand. The sticky disc allows the spider to attach itself to the hand of Person A while it releases its fiber for the extractor to collect the silk.
  4. Person B starts spinning the wheel using the handle whilst Person A guides the spider with his hands as the silk is being produced, and does this for about 2 to 3 minutes. This timeline allows the spider to release enough fiber, but will not over exhaust the spider.
  5. Once done, the spider is released by Person A safely on its web and back to its colony.
  6. The spider silk is then cut off with scissors. The spider silk will then be tested for its tensile strength. It will be tested with a homemade field tensile lab
  7. The data is then recorded. This includes temperature, barometric pressure, wind speed, wind direction, rainfall and dew point.