Glowworms Trap Prey With Urea Based Sticky Fishing Lines

Posted: Dec 15 2016, 5:37am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News

 

Glowworms Trap Prey with Urea Based Sticky Fishing Lines
These are glowworm and sticky fishing lines. Credit: Janek von Byern
  • New Zealand Glowworms Trap Insect with Urea Based Sticky Fishing Lines
 

New Zealand glowworms produce fishing lines to catch insects. The fishing lines are sticky and are placed with urea based water absorbents.

Spiders are known for producing sticky material that makes webs, but several other species also produce sticky fluid in different ways. Arachnocampa known as glowworms create thread type sticky fluid that traps insects.

Insects see the glowing light,get attracted, and get trapped in the sticky curtain formed by glowworms. But, researchers could not well understand the fishing lines in the past.

New research was done on the fishing lines from New Zealand’s cave in North Island. The researchers analyzed the adhesive by electron microscopy, and X-ray spectroscopy. The research helped the scientist find molecular composition of fishing lines.

Scientists discovered that sticky threads produced by glowworms are different from spider webs. Glowworms adhesive contains water absorbent droplets that show the environment they live in.

Spiders live in dry places, but glowworms live in moist places, like forests and caves. Fishing line droplets by glowworms create water that’s good for the survival of glowworms

Spiders on the other hand make silk from abdominal glands, but glowworms create sticky fluid from their mouth. The researchers found that, the adhesive material contained urea.

The researchers discovered this urea by studying crystalline minerals found in the droplets. Author of the journal expect the researchers to find behavior of different glowworms species that produce fishing lines of different shapes.

According tovon Byern,the prey system of glowworms is entirely different from spiders and similar species which produce sticky fluids. But, adhesive produced by glowworms contain water,hygroscopic salts, and low amounts of lipids and proteins in the form of biomolecules.

This research published in journal PLOS ONE by Janek von Byern from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Experimental and Clinical Traumatology, Austria, December 14, 2016.

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