The Spider (of the Aranea order) is not an insect for many reasons. First, spiders have eight legs, not the insect-defining six. Spiders also have two body parts, the front-body section (cephalothorax) and an abdomen, not an insect’s three. Their eyes are simple, so they don’t have the excellent vision like insects do either.
All spiders are carnivorous and venomous, but only a few can actually harm humans. And actually spiders won’t bite unless they feel threatened. Spiders can live just about anywhere, from the jungle to a suburban backyard. The intricate webs that they build are often used as a way to trap food, but not always. Sometimes they use it as a place to keep their eggs or as a lining for their burrow-like homes. All species’ webs are different too; in fact, the shape of their webs defines what species they are.
A spider’s silk is the strongest, natural fiber in the world — and is even stronger than steel. Their silk may eventually be used to help improve body armor. Because most spiders live alone, though, their silk is not produced in the quantities that moth’s produce theirs, which is used to make silk fabric.
Female spiders produce egg sacs that can hold up to 400 eggs. Their babies are called spiderlings, but most of them actually don’t live to maturity. The mother spider often leaves its eggs before they hatch, so once they do, they have to fend for themselves.
Spiders are an important part of the ecosystem because they eat many of the insects that have high populations. Also, the spider serves as food to many other animals that are larger than it.
Fun Spider Facts
- Researchers are looking for a way to use spider venom to cure diseases found in humans.
- If a spider loses its leg, it can regenerate one through a process of molting.
- The most poisonous spiders found in the United States, the black widow and the brown recluse, have not caused any deaths in more than two decades.
- Some female spiders eat their mates, even while they’re mating!
- In general, spiders have eight eyes, but some have no eyes and others have 12.
San Diego Zoo
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