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Old 10-27-2010, 06:10 PM   #1
Flyndaran
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Default Would a 9 lb sapient spider producing 1/10 lb of silk a day suspend your disbelief?

I'm creating a non-physics violating species of sapient spider-like creatures.
But I can't for the life of me find out how much silk a spider produces let alone as a function of body mass.
So as a number pulled out of my spinnerets, does 1/10 lb for maximum output seem reasonable? Or would you say only 1/100 lb per day, etc.?
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: Would a 9 lb sapient spider producing 1/10 lb of silk a day suspend your disbelie

A 9 lb spider violates SoD. In terms of silk production, poking around, it takes around 100 kg of mulberry leaves to produce 1 kg of silk, so if we assume similar efficiency, that implies the spider is eating its own weight every day, which sounds high (though as a carnivore, it's eating somewhat higher energy density foods), 1/100 lb sounds more probable.
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:37 PM   #3
Flyndaran
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Default Re: Would a 9 lb sapient spider producing 1/10 lb of silk a day suspend your disbelie

The christmas crab shows that arthropods can get that big.
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:41 PM   #4
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Default Re: Would a 9 lb sapient spider producing 1/10 lb of silk a day suspend your disbelie

I seem to recall that coconut crabs can get to be pretty freaking huge too.
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Would a 9 lb sapient spider producing 1/10 lb of silk a day suspend your disbelie

Quote:
Originally Posted by pyratejohn View Post
I seem to recall that coconut crabs can get to be pretty freaking huge too.
D'oh! That's what I meant.
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Would a 9 lb sapient spider producing 1/10 lb of silk a day suspend your disbelie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
I'm creating a non-physics violating species of sapient spider-like creatures.
But I can't for the life of me find out how much silk a spider produces let alone as a function of body mass.
So as a number pulled out of my spinnerets, does 1/10 lb for maximum output seem reasonable? Or would you say only 1/100 lb per day, etc.?
Spider silk is very, very light, that is what makes it so valuable.

According to the following article, they used over a million golden orb spider milkings to make a 2.6 pound garment.

They cite 14,000 spiders to make 1 ounce of silk, or about 0.00007 oz per spider per day.

These golden orb spiders weigh maybe around 0.035 ounces, or about .002 of silk per ounce of spider.

You're scaling them up about 4,000 times to get to 9 lbs, so you should be ok with about an 0.3 oz max* in a day for a 9 lbs spider.

Mind you, if you do milk the spider for all the silk it's worth you may need to give it time to replenish itself before milking it completely again.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/09/spider-silk/
http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/spidersilk/

Last edited by Ze'Manel Cunha; 10-30-2010 at 09:44 AM. Reason: *Correction to 0.3 oz per day.
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Would a 9 lb sapient spider producing 1/10 lb of silk a day suspend your disbelie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
I'm creating a non-physics violating species of sapient spider-like creatures.
But I can't for the life of me find out how much silk a spider produces let alone as a function of body mass.
So as a number pulled out of my spinnerets, does 1/10 lb for maximum output seem reasonable? Or would you say only 1/100 lb per day, etc.?
May I stop to congratulate you on the best thread title I've seen in weeks?

:)
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Would a 9 lb sapient spider producing 1/10 lb of silk a day suspend your disbelie

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Originally Posted by combatmedic View Post
May I stop to congratulate you on the best thread title I've seen in weeks?

:)
Why no, sir, a 9-lb intelligent spider certainly won't suspend any disbelief here, but how DARE you make it produce that much silk!!! For shame, sir!!

*snickers*
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: Would a 9 lb sapient spider producing 1/10 lb of silk a day suspend your disbelie

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
The christmas crab shows that arthropods can get that big.
That is probably the maximum weight for a coconut crab. If it's your spider's mean weight they are definitely at the limits under Earthlike conditions.

9lbs may be too small for sapience but that's pretty fuzzy. How much of that body mass is brain though?
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: Would a 9 lb sapient spider producing 1/10 lb of silk a day suspend your disbelie

Quote:
Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
That is probably the maximum weight for a coconut crab. If it's your spider's mean weight they are definitely at the limits under Earthlike conditions.

9lbs may be too small for sapience but that's pretty fuzzy. How much of that body mass is brain though?
Actually 9lbs is more the typical weight... they get up to about 38lbs at their largest.

However... they grow throughout their entire lives (I think about 60 years), so if the spider in question does the same, they might not reach "sentience" until well being past "middle-aged".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha View Post
Spider silk is very, very light, that is what makes it so valuable.

According to the following article, they used over a million golden orb spider milkings to make a 2.6 pound garment.

They cite 14,000 spiders to make 1 ounce of silk, or about 0.00007 oz per spider per day.

These golden orb spiders weigh maybe around 0.035 ounces, or about .002 of silk per ounce of spider.

You're scaling them up about 4,000 times to get to 9 lbs, so you should be ok with about an 8 oz max in a day for a 9 lbs spider.

Mind you, if you do milk the spider for all the silk it's worth you may need to give it time to replenish itself before milking it completely again.
Forgive me, but using those numbers I get something more akin to 1/50th a pound, or about 0.3 ounces.
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