Put simply, arachnids are amazing. For example, there are over 2,000 species of scorpions on Earth, and all of these species fluoresce under ultraviolet light (Why? Who knows?!?). Meanwhile, Harvestmen, also known as daddy long-legs, have scarcely changed at all during 305 million years of evolution, and they can detach their own legs to distract would-be predators. And besides being the primary vector for Lyme disease transmission to humans, black-legged ticks can live up to two years and eat just three times during their entire life cycle.
But perhaps the most amazing arachnids of all are spiders, who have managed to delegate the production of one of the strongest materials known to man, silk, to goats!
More precisely, these days, there are genetically modified goats that produce milk with spider silk in it. Spider silk is part of a class of materials known as biopolymers, which are protein-based materials of biological origin. Spider silk has attracted widespread interest from engineers in recent years, largely because of its impressive mechanical properties — stronger than steel yet thinner than a human hair. It’s not a new material, though. Fossil records indicate that spider silk has a history on Earth dating back to the Middle Devonion Period over 350 million years ago!
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