Some find them adorable, most find them at least a bit creepy… but no one can say that spiders aren’t interesting!
After all, these 8-legged bugs do a range of incredible things, like building intricate webs and hanging upside down from the ceiling like it’s nothing.
But that’s not the end of peculiar things about spiders! Here is a list of lesser-known facts about these amazing creatures.
#1 Spiders Are Not Insects
While most of us would put spiders in the category of ‘insects’ or ‘bugs’, neither of those is technically correct.
According to the way species are classified in biology, spiders and insects belong to the same phylum which is called Arthropoda.
That means both spiders and insects are Arthropods or invertebrates with an exoskeleton (their skeletons are outside of the body).
This phylum is then divided into multiple subphylums and classes according to evolutionary heritage. This is where spiders get separated from insects.
Insects belong to class Insecta, subphylum Hexapoda.
Spiders belong to class Arachnida, subphylum Chelicerata. Some other Arachnids (which are not insects) include ticks and scorpions.
#2 Spiders Can Produce Up to 7 Different Types of Silk
There are more than 45,000 species of spiders in the world, and each of them has the ability to produce silk. But did you know spiders can produce up to 7 different types of silk?
The number of types varies from species to species, but most spiders are capable of creating 4 or 5 different types of silk.
Spiders are master engineers. They use the different types of silk for different purposes, such as building nets or hanging down from the ceiling. They know exactly what type of silk will work for which purpose.
#3 Spider Silk is Tougher Than Steel
Believe it or not, spider silk is tougher than steel (and has a greater tensile strength). Without going into definitions of mechanical properties of the two substances, it’s enough to look at simple experiments like this one.
When put to the test, spider silk can carry more than twice as much weight as the equivalent amount of steel.
#4 Some Spiders Have No Eyes
Most spiders have 8 eyes, some have 6, but some have none at all! The first, and so far only, eyeless species of spiders was discovered in 2012.
The species in question, Sinopoda curious, was found in a cave in Laos. This spider spends its whole life in a dark cave, most likely never seeing daylight, which is why it doesn’t need eyes.
However, while there are other cave-dwelling spider species, this is the first one that doesn’t have any eyes!
#5 Spiders Are Nearsighted
Even though most spiders have 8 eyes, these don’t help them see very far. Do spiders need glasses? Well, not really.
Did you know that most spiders hunt at night when it’s very dark? One would expect that they have night vision, but they don’t have that either.
What spider eyes are great at, though, is sensing even the tiniest amount of motion in their vicinity. Also, eight-eyes spiders have an almost complete 360 degrees field of vision.
#6 Tarantulas Throw Hairs at Their Enemies
One of the main defense mechanisms of tarantulas. The hairs on their abdomen, or rather bristles, are sharp and sometimes poisonous.
Some tarantulas ‘fling’ them towards the enemy by rubbing their legs against their abdomen, while some just brush up against the enemy (this is much less common.
Now, not all tarantulas do the hair throwing bit, but 90% of New World tarantula species do, plus some others.
By the way, many plants and also some caterpillars use the same defense mechanism.
#7 Some Spiders Build Giant Super Webs Together
Most spiders are solitary creatures. They live alone, they build their webs alone, they hunt alone – and they can even be aggressive to members of their own species if they happen upon each other.
However, not all spiders are like this. Some species of spiders like to team up. The most fascinating product of spiders working together are communal webs which can get huge.
Sometimes even spiders who are usually not living together decide to team up. Why does that happen? Scientists are not sure, but the results are definitely fascinating (and a little creepy)
#8 Some Spiders Are Fishermen
Some spiders are great fishermen (both in the literal and the figurative sense). Spiders from a genus called Dolomedes are semi-aquatic and catch their prey in water.
These spiders usually wait on the edge of a pond or another field of water with their legs floating and waiting to feel the vibration of a potential snack.
Once they do, they spring into action – and they are great at swimming, diving, and even walking on water.
Usually, it’s small aquatic insects they catch, but sometimes they catch small fish.
Some Dolomedes species can be quite big (with a leg span up to almost 4 inches) and they have been spotted catching some pretty big fish for dinner.
#9 Some Spiders Pretend They Are Ants
Not one, but quite a few spider species pretend they are ants in some way. Actually, the number of species that mimic ants (by their looks, behavior, and even chemical signals) is over 300.
For example, jumping spiders from the genus Myrmarachne have bodies that resemble ants almost to a T.
To make the illusion more believable, these spiders also walk like ants, and wave their front legs in front of their head to make them look like antennas!
Some of these spiders pretend to be ants to avoid getting eaten, but some also do it to sneakily kill ants and eat them.
#10 Spiders Are Useful
When we think about spiders we often think about danger and painful bites. But the truth is, most spiders are not harmful to humans at all. In fact, they are very useful for us and the world we live in!
For starters, the main food spiders munch on are other insects, some of which are quite annoying, like mosquitos and flies.
By feeding on these critters, spiders keep their populations in control, thus acting as natural pest control!
That’s it for today! We hope this has been a fun read. While it’s hard not to think that many things spiders do are very creepy, their skills are definitely admirable!
Spiders are expert engineers, hunters, fishermen, and more… How cool is that?
Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:7 Unexpected Things Spiders Do In a Typical Day
7 Super Important Things Spiders Do For Us
The Demise Of Male Spiders After Mating – Do They Know?!
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