Neat Things About Spiders

Eeeek! The mere sight of a spider can strike fear in the hearts of millions. Arachnid means spider, and arachnophobia means fear of spiders. One of the most common fears among humans is arachnophobia, but there really is nothing to be afraid of. Spiders are actually very helpful creatures to humans. They help plants reproduce by pollinating them. They help recycle dead trees and animals back into the earth. They are a source of food for birds, fish, and small mammals. And, they eat many harmful insects, helping to keep your garden pest-free.

Spiders are not insects. Insects have three body parts and six legs, whereas spiders have eight legs and two body parts, the abdomen and the thorax. With eight legs, they can run pretty fast across a wall or the ground and that is probably what scares most people. 

Where are they going and what are they doing? Spiders spend most of their day spinning webs or searching for food to trap in those webs. So when you see one scurrying across the sidewalk, watch to see where she is headed. It's probably a high insect location. 

Here are some other neat things to know about spiders:

  • Spiders are invertebrates, which means they don't have backbones.
  • Spiders have silk spinning glands called spinnerets, at the tip of their abdomen, which they use to spin their webs. Spiders spin webs to catch insects to eat. The insects stick to the sticky threads of the web. Spiders don't stick to the web because of oil on their bodies. Not all spiders spin webs. Some spiders track down prey by running after it. 
  • Spiders naturally produce seven different kinds of silk for webbing. Each type of silk, comprised of genetically-produced proteins, serves a particular function: one to wrap its prey, one to wrap its eggs, and five to form the spider's web.
  • There are more than 30,000 species of spiders in the world.
  • All spiders have fangs that eject venom when they bite. Spider bites can be quite painful, and a rare few even fatal.
  • Tarantulas, daddy long legs, and black widows are all from the spider, or arachnid, family.
  • Even though they have six to eight eyes, most spiders are very nearsighted. They use the hair on their body as sensors to feel their way around and sense when other animals are near.
  • Because webs can get dirty and torn, most spiders build a new web everyday. What do they do with the old web? Roll it up into a ball and eat it. Yummy (to spiders)!
  • Male spiders are usually smaller than female spiders.
  • Charlotte, from the book and movie called Charlotte's Web, is the most famous fictional spider in literature and cinema. The Itsy Bitsy Spider and Little Miss Muffet are two famous nursery rhymes about spiders.
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Neat Things About Spiders