Are Spiders Insects?
Spiders are important to the balance of nature. Spiders eat mosquitoes and other insects. Spiders help keep insects under control. Spiders are arachnids. They are not insects. Daddy longlegs, mites, ticks, and scorpions are also arachnids.
You can tell spiders and insects apart. Spiders have eight legs. Insects have six legs.
The bodies of spiders have two parts. The head and chest form one part, and the abdomen is the second part. The two parts are linked by a thin stalk called the pedicel. The bodies of insects, on the other hand, have three parts. A spider’s body has a hard-outer shell.
Insects have antennae, and most of them have four wings. Spiders do not have any wings or antennae.
Fun Fact: Only 30 of the 40,000 species of spider’s cause illness when they bite people. The black widow and the brown recluse are two spiders that have painful or deadly bites.
How Big Are Spiders?
The biggest spiders are tarantulas. They have bodies that are more than 10 centimeters long. A tarantula’s legs spread out over 20 centimeters. The smallest spiders have bodies that are less than 1 millimeter long.
How Do Spiders Make Webs?
Fun Fact: Spiders spin webs out of silk threads. The silk comes from glands in the spider’s abdomen.
The glands make a liquid. The liquid goes out through tubes as thin as a hair. The tubes are called spigots. The spigots go to spinnerets on the spider’s abdomen. Dozens of spigots go to each spinneret. The spinnerets are like fingers. They can move to stick silk threads to a wall or wrap prey in silk.
Why Do Spiders Make Webs?
House spiders, garden spiders, and other spiders spin webs to catch prey. Some webs are shaped like funnels. Some webs are flat. Some webs are like a circle. The spiders feel the web vibrate when a fly or other insect gets trapped in the web’s sticky threads.
Not all spiders spin webs, but all spiders make silk threads. Spiders leave a silk thread behind them as they go. They can use this thread to make a quick escape. Spiders use their silk to make nests.
Some spiders use their silk to wrap up captured prey. All spiders are carnivorous. They eat insects and sometimes other spiders.
Scientists divide spiders into two groups called web spiders and ground spiders. Ground spiders hunt their prey. Wolf spiders and other ground spiders have long, thick legs. They wait for an insect to come along and then jump on it.
How Do Spiders Eat?
A spider has special mouth parts called chelicerae. There is a sharp fang at the end of each chelicerae. The fang is hollow. The spider stabs its prey with the fang. Poison from a poison gland in the spider’s body goes through the fang and into the prey. Big tarantulas are powerful enough to kill frogs and lizards. Small jumping spiders that live in the tropics can jump a long way to attack prey.
Spiders cannot chew their food. The spider spits juices into the wound made by its fang. The juices start to digest the prey outside the spider’s body. The spider’s stomach has muscles that are powerful enough to suck in the digested prey.
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