If you think you know everything there is to know about spiders, prepare to be amazed.
Spiders, the creepiest of crawlies, actually live interesting and nuanced lives that most people are completely unaware of!
Our list of 7 unexpected things that spiders do in a typical day includes surprising insights into the day-to-day lives of our eight-legged friend, the spider.
From romantic interludes to surprising hunting methods, spiders are anything but boring.
As a human, there are certain sounds we think of as romantic.
A sweet melodic song played on the piano, or the crackling of a warm fire in the fireplace, can both invoke feelings of comfort and love.
Believe it or not, some spiders have sounds they find romantic too, and it isn’t as unsettling as you might think.
A species of wolf spider called Gladicosa gulosa doesn’t serenade his beloved with a beautiful song but takes a cue from our close friend the cat, and actually purrs to attract his mate.
Purring might not be the epitome of romance for humans, but for these wolf spiders, the perfect purr can be irresistible to a single female.
It’s thought that the female Gladicosa gulosa doesn’t audibly hear the males purr, but feels like vibrations of it through her feet.
This is especially true when the purring spider is standing on a surface conducive to strong vibrations, like dried leaves.
Spiders don’t possess an eardrum, so using the leaves of other detritus, the male wolf spider communicates his loving intentions to his potential mate.
As of now, the Gladicosa gulosa is the only spider known to use this attention-grabbing tactic.
6. Go Fishing
Who doesn’t love an excellent piece of fish?
A tender salmon filet or perfectly cooked tuna steak is the star of many a dinner plate, and although not all humans love to eat fish, a certain spider would love to be invited to dinner.
The diving bell spider, or argyroneta aquatica, is a species of small water spider that has a large range in Europe and Asia, where it has mastered the art of fishing using its unique diving bell.
The diving bell spider spends most of its life underwater, only surfacing to top off the oxygen in its diving bell or to consume prey.
The diving bell itself is an incredible achievement for an arachnid.
Made from carefully spun silk and inflated above water, the spiders will live and feed inside their diving bells for most of their lives.
Male diving bell spiders will even enter the bell of the female for mating, and the female will carry and hatch her egg sacs inside her bell as well.
Usually feeding on insects and small tadpoles, scientists have also observed the diving bell spider feeding on smaller fish, dragging them into their bell or above water and consuming them.
5. Carry Their Babies
Showing up again on our list is the wolf spider.
These large, hairy, rather frightening-looking arachnids are actually amazing parents compared to other spiders, carrying and protecting their eggs and young spiderlings as long as necessary.
Wolf spiders, members of the family Lycosidae, are unique in that they show a form of maternal instinct.
The female and her mate will both construct a silken sac to carry the eggs around in, and the female will attach the fertilized eggs in their sac to her spinnerets to carry until they are ready to hatch.
Once hatched, the mother will carry the baby spiders on her abdomen and back, sometimes layers deep, until they are large enough to survive on their own.
While the mother wolf spider might not win any mother of the year awards compared to some mammals, the delicate and caring way the mother wolf spider treats her young is not found in any other spider.
Wolf spiders are the only spiders known that carry their young for any period, making them unique.
Scientists have even observed the mother wolf spider to show concern when she loses her egg sac, searching for it tirelessly until she retrieves it.
Coming right on the heels of the appearance of murder hornets, the reports of flying spiders terrified the public, and for good reason.
Thankfully, spiders haven’t suddenly sprouted wings and learned how to fly.
The reports of flying spiders aren’t a complete fallacy, though.
While they aren’t actually flying, the Selenops spider, also known as a flattie, has mastered the art of manoeuvrable gliding.
These spiders don’t use their gift for evil, though. Instead, Selenops glides from tree to tree to avoid ground predators and to find food.
Using their flat bodies, Selenops will leap from trees, catching the breeze and gliding to their destination through the air.
Selenops, just like our purring spider earlier, takes a cue from our feline friends.
They have learned to always land on their feet, twisting their bodies mid-air just like a cat. These spiders can also direct themselves, moving their legs in different directions to steer.
Selenops excels at gliding because of its flat body, hence the nickname “flattie”. Their flat bodies make it easier to catch even the most subtle breeze, and with the help of its steering legs, Selenops has no problem gliding to its destination.
There is no maximum distance known for how far a Selenops spider can glide, but the good news is they aren’t dangerous at all to humans.
Still, the sight of a spider gliding through the air is bound to make some people uncomfortable!
3. Cast a Net
Everyone knows spiders can spin impressive webs with which to catch their prey.
When one thinks of a spider, they picture the eight-legged arachnid sitting in the middle of its carefully constructed web, awaiting some unknowing prey to become stuck in the sticky strands.
Some spiders aren’t as passive when it comes to getting some lunch.
These proactive spiders, known as Deinopis, or the ogre-face spider, will instead spin a miniature web and hold it between their front legs, poised in such a way that when a prey insect walks by, the Deinopis will cast its net over the prey, trapping it.
These net-casting spiders have thin, spindly bodies and huge front-facing eyes, allowing them to see their approaching prey will their superior eyesight.
They can throw their net just in time to catch a tasty bug, trapping it in an inescapable net. There’s no waiting around for Deinopis.
2. Give Romantic Gifts
Finding love can be hard, even for spiders.
Even worse, scientists have observed some female spiders eating their male counterparts immediately after mating. Tough luck, right?
Some male spiders have found a workaround to help avoid becoming a post-coital snack.
Male spiders of the species Pisaura mirabilis, or nursery web spider, have upped their romance game significantly by presenting their lady love with an extravagant gift before mating.
The male nursery web spider will catch an insect and wrap it in an intricate web before presenting it to his potential mate.
The bigger and tastier the gift, the less likely it is that the female will cannibalize the male after copulation.
Males that approach a female without a gift are six times more likely to become a snack.
Seems like a little generosity and forethought can go a long way with spider love.
1. Keep Frogs as Pets
Our most surprising daily spider behaviour is also the most heartwarming.
Humans know that keeping a pet makes life more enjoyable.
The loving companionship of a pet is incomparable, so it’s no surprise that spiders wanted to get in on the pet ownership game. No, seriously. Spiders can have pets.
Spiders, specifically the burrowing tarantula Xenesthis immanis, only keep one sort of pet, frogs.
The diminutive Microhylids, or narrow-mouthed frog, has found itself the beloved friend of these tarantulas, and like most animal duos, both the spider and the frog gain some outstanding perks for their friendship.
The narrow-mouthed frog is much smaller than the tarantula, and benefits from living in the spider burrow, protected from potential predators.
In return for the bodyguard work, the frog will eat any ants or other pesky tiny insects that might eat the spider’s eggs.
This adorable friendship is an example of symbiosis.
The spider has no interest in eating the frog, and they both live in harmony.
It’s thought that the spider identifies its particular frog using chemical markers on the frog’s skin.
Scientists have observed the tarantula examining the frog with its mandibles, either for identification or to make sure the frog isn’t a threat.
These two unlikely friends definitely make a cute couple!
Spiders aren’t just eight-legged web-spinning machines or terrifying home invaders here to bite you in your sleep.
Over the thousands of different spiders species, some unique and interesting behaviours have appeared. Who knew that spiders lived such exciting secret lives?
From romantic songs and gifts to keeping their own pets, spiders are more like humans than we could have ever guessed, and while these unexpected behaviours may take us by surprise, they are nothing out of the ordinary for these amazing arachnids.
Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:Why Do Spiders Have 8 Eyes? The Curious Answer
How Spiders Move and How it differs to Human
THE JOYS OF OWNING A PET TARANTULA – PART I of II
We often tend to anthropomorphize non-humans, including insects. When we hear about strange habits or behavior, an inadvertent shudder may well be our first response. The thought of termites...
More specifically, this group is the “alates”, the so-called swarmers who grow wings and are seen flying around close to the exit points around the house, trying to get outside, during the spring...