Spider web gives up DNA secrets

Black widow spiderImage copyright
Scott Camazine

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The Black Widow spider is the most poisonous spider in North America

Spiders can be identified from the DNA they leave on webs, say US scientists.

Analysis of genetic material stuck to spiders webs also reveals what they have eaten weeks after catching their prey.

The research may have future uses in monitoring endangered species or tracking down spider pests, experts report in the journal, Plos One.

The study looked at black widow spiders kept in a zoo.

If the technique works on other types of spider, it could have widespread practical uses, say experts from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana.

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