Image provided by Maminirina Randrianandrasana, May Berenbaum Lab
Research funded by the Lindbergh Foundation and the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement
Special thanks to Catherine Lee Wallace at the Microscopy Suite in the Imaging Technology Group at the Beckman Institute
The strands running across this image are silk fibers secreted by a Madagascar wild silkworm. The structures of the fibers, observed at a microlevel scale invisible to the naked eyes, forms a mesh with crossover points. Silk is used in many enterprises, including production of cosmetics and biomedicine. Studying the properties of this particular silk is important; silk production offers an alternative income to the local people living in the border of the largest remaining forests in Madagascar, and an incentive for conserving local biodiversity.