Spider Facts

Michael Bryan

Michael Bryan

01 Jul 2020

spider facts

When you hear the word “creepy crawlies,” spiders are probably one of the first things that come to mind. This reputation makes it hard not to fear them, but most spiders are actually harmless to humans. Unless provoked, spiders live peacefully, silently contributing to their environments. Learn more about these animals with these spider facts.

  1. Except for Antarctica, spiders live on every continent in the world.
  2. Over 45,000 species of spiders exist.
  3. The earliest evidence of spiders date back to 130 million years ago.
  4. Spiders can be as small as 0.37 mm or as large as one foot in diameter.
  5. The spider’s lifespan ranges from 1 to 45 years old.
  1. All spiders have fangs.
  2. Almost all spiders are venomous.
  3. Most of the cases of recorded spider bites had mild to moderate effects.
  4. Although most spider species can’t harm humans, there are still some deadly species.
  5. ‘Arachnophobia’ is the term for the fear of spiders.
  6. ‘Araneae’ is the scientific name of the spider.
  7. Spiders release silk through their spinnerets.
  8. At 120 spider families have been recorded by taxonomists.
  9. Spiders are not insects.
  10. They are classified as arachnids.
  1. Spiders rank seventh in total species diversity among all orders of organisms.
  2. Spider webs vary in shape, size, and stickiness.
  3. The oldest spider lived up to 45 years.
  4. The Brazillian Wandering Spider has the most toxic venom of all spiders.
  5. Spiderman was bitten by a real spider: the
    Steatoda nobilis.
Table of Contents

Tarantulas can grow up to 11 inches and weigh 85 grams.

Because of its size and appearance, the tarantula often acts as the poster boy for arachnophobia. This big and hairy spider can grow from 4 to 11 inches from the front and can weigh from 28 to 85 grams depending on the species.

With more than 750 known tarantula species in the world, tarantulas are among the most common spider species. However, as intimidating as they look, tarantulas can be gentle creatures and have since been a popular choice for exotic pets. If you don’t have the time to care for one, you could bring home an equally fluffy companion here.

tarantula, spider facts
Photo from Pixabay

Tarantulas can't kill a human.

Contrary to popular belief that tarantulas are dangerous to humans,
these species are actually harmless. Although they can inflict a painful bite or irritate our skin with their bristly spines, they only have mild venom. Generally speaking, bee venom causes more harm to humans than tarantula venom.

Tarantulas have become popular in the exotic pet trade.

With proper care, many of these creatures can live more than 10 years in captivity. Some of the common species of tarantula have become popular in the exotic pet trade such as the Mexican Red-Knee, Chilean Rose, and the Costa Rican Zebra.

Mexican red-knee tarantulas are docile creatures.

They are also usually the first pet for spider lovers. The males live for around 10 years while females can live for about 20 up to 30 years. Generally, the Mexican Red-knee rarely bites. However, if it may eject stinging hairs from its legs and abdomen if provoked.

The Chilean fire tarantula is a type of burrowing spider.

Also known as Chilean rose tarantula, the Chilean fire tarantula is ideal for beginner spider collectors. The males can live for about 5 years while the females can live up to 20 years. The Chilean fire is best suited for humid and warm environments.

The Costa Rican Zebras move faster compared to other tarantulas.

The Costa Rican Zebra, also known as Striped-knee tarantula, is a calm but fast-moving type of spider. Due to their flighty nature, they are not ideal for those who prefer to handle their pet spiders. The males can live for about 5 years and the female can live for up to 20 years.

Spiders are never too far from us.

According to research, spiders are so common that at any given time, there is a spider no more than 10 feet away from us. However, there’s no need to worry as they usually just hide in crevices minding their own business.

Around half of the world's spiders are yet to be discovered.

Although over 45,000 different spider species have been discovered, it’s very likely that there’s more to be seen. Scientists believe that half of the world’s total spider population remain undiscovered.

Spider silk is the second-strongest natural substance in the world.

At first glance, these webs may seem so weak and fragile. However, spider silk is actually five times stronger than a string of steel with the same thickness. In fact, spider silk is only second to limpet teeth as the strongest materials found in nature.

spider silk
Photo from Pixabay

The Brazilian Wandering Spider is the world's most dangerous spider.

Also known as armed spiders or banana spiders, the Brazilian Wandering Spider has the most neurologically active venom of all spiders. A single bite can be fatal to children, and could compromise an adult’s bodily system in 30 minutes. These spiders don’t live in webs, but roam forest floors at night, actively looking for prey.

brazilian wandering spider, spider facts
Photo by Rodrigo Tetsuo Argenton on Wikimedia Commons

Antivenin can reverse the effects of a Brazilian wandering spider bite.

Although these spiders have the deadliest venom, only as few as 10 casualties have been reported in Brazil. Immediate medical attention and administering antivenin can easily cancel out the Brazillian wandering spider’s fatal venom.

Lizards are one of the main predators of spiders.

Spiders’ natural predators are lizards, birds, fish, wasps, monkeys, centipedes, scorpions, and other spiders. That said, spiders play a vital role in the ecology of their habitats.

Not all spiders have eight eyes.

Although spiders have many eyes, only a few species have good eyesight. Some species may only have six eyes or fewer. However, eye-count aside, spiders mainly rely on their sense of touch, vibration, and taste to navigate.

Spiders' primary eyes appear darker.

The spider’s eight eyes are usually sit in two rows along the front of their carapace. The spider’s main or the primary eyes are dark, while the secondary eyes normally have a layer of light reflecting crystals called tapetum.

Female spiders live longer than males.

Most spiders species live for about a year or two. According to research, females spiders tend to live a little longer than male spiders.

The Goliath Birdeater spider can live between 15 to 25 years.

In contrast to spider species such as the Black Widow and Brown Recluse spider that have life spans of 1 to 3 years, the Goliath Birdeater spider can live generally longer.

The Goliath Birdeater is the world's biggest spider.

Native to South America, the Goliath birdeater is the biggest spider in the world by mass – much like its Biblical namesake. Goliath Birdeater can weight more than 160 grams and grow 30 cm in size.

The Goliath Birdeater doesn't prey on birds alone.

From the name itself, the Goliath Birdeater are large and powerful enough to prey on birds in the wild. However, they are opportunistic predators, more commonly feeding on large arthropods such as worms and amphibians.

"Number 16" is the longest living spider.

A trapdoor spider known as “number 16,” lived in North Bungulla Reserve near Tammin, Western Australia. No. 16 is the oldest spider that has ever been documented. Although the lifespan of a trapdoor spider only ranges 5 and 20 years, No. 16 managed to live for 43 years from the year 1974 to 2016.

Not all spiders spin webs.

Trapdoor spiders species are called don’t spin webs like most spiders. Instead, they live underground and build a cork-like trapdoor out of the soil and silk, which they use as a trap for their prey.

Trapdoor spiders are harmless.

Trapdoor spiders may look bizarre and sound a little intimidating, but they are not a threat to humans. The trapdoor spider’s bite is non-toxic to humans and they usually hide in their burrows undisturbed.

Spiders commonly feed on indoor pests.

The common food of spiders is indoor pests such as mosquitoes, flies, common clothes moths, earwigs, and cockroaches. For bigger species of spiders, they primarily feed on small animals such as frogs, birds, millipedes, woodlice, and even lizards.

Microscopic spiders exist.

The Patu Digua is the world’s smallest species of spiders. With its body measuring around 0.37 mm, these tiny spiders are approximately one-fifth of the size of a pin’s head.

Spiders can't chew their food.

Like most arachnids, spiders are incapable of chewing their food. Instead, they have a mouth shaped similar to a drinking straw that they use to sip the liquefied insides of their prey.

Spiders can eat their webs.

Spiders often use their webs to trap their prey, but they can also use it as a food source. Spiders can eat their silk to reuse its proteins that they need to produce new spider webs. How’s that for neat spider facts?

Spiders only have two main body parts.

Unlike insects that have three main sections of the body, spiders’ bodies only have two main sections called tagmata. However, the assassin spider stands as an exception, since its cephalothorax is divided into two parts by an elongated “neck.” Typically, the two main body parts of the spider are its fused head and thorax or ‘cephalothorax’ and its abdomen or ‘opisthosoma.’

spider facts
Photo from Pixabay

The cephalothorax is the front segment of the spider.

The cephalothorax or the front segment of the spider comprises its eyes, fangs, stomach, legs, and brain. Meanwhile, the back end of the abdomen holds the spider’s spinnerets, which they use for making webs.

Spiders have 48 knees.

Each of the spider’s legs has 6 joints, hence the number of knees. Spider legs are lined with fine hairs that pick up vibrations and scents from the air. At the tip of each leg, there are at least two small claws that help with their grip.

The fear of spiders is one of the most common phobias.

Affecting 3.5 %to 6.1% of the global population, arachnophobia is one of the world’s most common fears. People with arachnophobia may always resist engaging in activities that might expose them to spiders,  such as going down basements or any dark crawlspace.

Arachnophobia can be treated.

The irrational fear of spiders can be treated by specific techniques such as systematic desensitization or exposure therapy. Furthermore, another way is through cognitive reframing, which helps the person stop perceiving things as threats.

Some people consider spiders as pests.

Some households may experience spider infestations, which could be a hassle to deal with. However, many neighborhoods offer services to exterminate or redirect these spiders.

Spiders can also serve as a natural pest control.

A single spider can eat up to 2,000 insects in just one year. You may fear them, but the spiders in your house are actually doing doing you a favor by feeding on mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, and moths can transmit diseases.

Spiders reproduce sexually.

Interestingly, when spiders mate, the male’s sperm will not be inserted into the female’s body from the male’s genitals. Instead, the male spiders will ejaculate onto ready-made sperm webs. Then it transfers its sperm to syringe-like structures on the tips of their front appendages called palps.

Wolf spiders have excellent eyesight.

Unlike most spider species that have poor eyesight, the Wolf spider is gifted with excellent eyesight, which makes them agile hunters. Its average lifespan is between 18 months up to a year, and grow from 0.24 to 1.2 inches.

Wolf spiders don't use webs to catch insects.

Wolf spiders are named for their similarities with wolves in catching their prey. Unlike a typical spider that uses their webs to grab a meal, they chase and pounce on the insect, much like what a real wolf would do.

wolf spider
Photo from Pixabay

Wolf spiders usually spend their time on the ground.

The dark, mottled colors on their bodies serve as camouflage with decaying plant matter which conceals them from prey and predators. They also tend to dig burrows or make holes under logs or rocks as their shelter.

Spider legs are composed of eight major parts.

The palps at the tip of spiders’ legs act like the “fingertips” of a human. Second, the tarsus, metatarsus, and tibia function as the “forearm,” while the spider’s patella, femur, trochanter, and coxa comprise the elbow up to the shoulders.

The American House Spider is one of the most common house spiders in North America.

Other common house spiders are the Long-Bodied Cellar Spider, Brown Recluse, Sac Spider, and Jumping Spider.

The American house spider is famous for its webs.

The American house spider is in the group of cobweb spiders that love to build webs in places such as basements, closets, and crawl spaces. Its commonly appears in brown, greyish or darker brown patterns. A relatively small species, the American house spider grows as big as the diameter of a nickel.

The Long-Bodied Cellar Spider also known as the "daddy-long-legs".

The Long-Bodied Cellar Spider (Pholcus Phalangioide) is more known as “daddy-long-legs” due to its skinny, long legs. While their bodies measure only 0.08-0.39 inches in length, its legs measure up to 1.97 inches long.

A single spider can release up to seven different types of silk.

Compare to a silk-producing insect that can only produce one type of silk, a spider can release up to seven different kinds. The type of silk they produced depends on its uses, such as navigation, shelter, securing their eggs, or catching prey.

Spider silk is actually liquid.

We normally see spider silk as solid webs, but their silk actually comes in liquid form. Once this spider silk comes in contact with the air, it hardens. This allows the spiders to build their webs.

Spider silk comes from special glands.

The spider silk comes out from the silk glands as a liquid gel of protein. It travels down a tube before it comes out through the spigots or motor-like valves that control the thickness and flow of the silk.

Most spiders have six spinnerets.

Depending on the species, spiders have 2-8 spinnerets. Normally, these organs are found in the underside of the spider’s abdomen or its rear.

The spider web has three major properties.

The spider’s web has a unique combination of strength, lightness, and elasticity, which helps them serve various purposes in a spider’s life.

Male spiders can use "tricks" in their gifts.

Rather than offering impressive gifts such as insects or other prey, they tend to give scraps. Sometimes, the gift simply consists of pieces of leaves, or old gifts that had been rejected by other female spiders.

The Bagheera Kiplingi could be the only herbivorous spider.

This species of the jumping spider, ‘Bagheera Kiplingi’ was reported to be herbivorous. According to scientists, the species anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material.

spider facts
Photo from Pixabay

Spiders are nocturnal.

Most spider species are more active at night. During this time, spiders regularly make their webs, catch prey and avoid predators by staying hidden in the darkness.

Spiders have blue blood.

No, spiders aren’t royalty. However, the hemocyanin in the blood makes it blue. Humans have red blood because the molecule attached to the oxygen contains iron. For spiders, the molecule attached to the oxygen contains copper, which turns their blood into blue.

Spiders cannot recognize their owners.

Despite being a popular pet, spiders can’t remember their owners. Most spiders’ nervous system only has a basic structure, which keeps them from recognizing facial features. However, some species can still develop unique behavior patterns or “personalities.”

Spiders consume more than the total mass of human beings.

There is a theory that spiders could eat all humans on earth in just a year. According to studies, the spider’s population consumes 400-800 million tons of prey yearly, which is more than the total mass of human beings which is only 287 million tons.

Some female spiders eat male spiders.

Depending on the species, some female spiders tend to eat male spiders before, during, or right after mating. The name of the black widow spider comes from this kind of behavior, known as sexual cannibalism. Definitely one of the more disturbing spider facts.

Male spiders have a variety of complex courtship rituals.

To avoid being eaten by the much larger females, male spiders have a variety of complex courtship rituals such as tying up their female partners before they mate.

Spider silk egg-cases can contain hundreds of eggs.

The females weave silk egg-cases which contain hundreds of eggs. In general, females take care of their young by sharing food with them or carrying them around.

spider facts
Photo from Pixabay

Spiders are predominantly solitary

Most spiders prefer to keep to themselves, but some species have been observed to share webs with 50,000 individuals. Some spiders also practice co-operative hunting and food-sharing.

Spider silk could potentially be the future of bulletproof vests.

Since spider silk is one of the toughest known natural fibers in the world, industries are exploring its potential for making bulletproof garments. Above all, spider silk is light and flexible and is stronger by weight compared to high-grade steel or kevlar.

Spider venom can be useful to humans.

Although the venom of the most dangerous spider species can be harmful to humans, scientists are now looking for its potential for non-polluting pesticide and medicine.

Researchers believe that the early spiders lived in water.

According to research, spiders evolved around 400 million years ago from thick-waisted arachnid ancestors. These early arachnids first lived in bodies of water, eventually moving to land.

Spiders started making silk upon moving into the land.

Spiders emerged from water during the Early Devonian period (around 419.2 million and 358.9 million years ago). Upon moving into the land, spiders evolved to have silk glands as protection for their bodies and their eggs.

There are only less than 100 known cobweb paintings.

Also known as gossamer painting, cobweb paintings feature works produced on a canvas made from spider webs. Today, less than 100 known cobweb paintings are known to exist, with most of them stored in private collections.

The first cobweb painting traces back to the 16th century.

The first cobweb painting dates back to the 16th century from the Puster Valley in the Austrian Tyrolean Alps. The monks produced these cobweb paintings on canvases as part of their religious practices.

There are different types of spider webs.

The orb web is the most common type of spider web which generally appears like a wheel. Another is the tangled web or cobweb with a disarrayed appearance. Meanwhile, sheet webs are either flat, triangular, or funnel-shaped webs.

Spiders start to make a web with a single thread of silk.

The spiders make orb webs by producing a single thread of silk attached to a branch, forming a bridge. Then, the spider crosses the bridge to release another thread, forming a V-shape. Afterwards, the spider lowers itself to form a Y-shape.

Once the center of the web is secure, the spider produces more webs from several anchor points until it formed into a wheel-shape. While making these webs, spiders use the palps on the tip of their legs to avoid getting tangled up.

The spider's small brain accomplishes many things.

One of the most astonishing things about spiders is that they can accomplish many things with such a small brain. Their central nervous system is made up of two simple ganglia that are connected to their nerves, and which leads the spider’s various muscles and sensory systems.

There are up to 3 million spiders per acre of land on earth.

Although it may be hard to determine the exact population of all the spiders on earth, scientists roughly estimate around 1 million up to 3 million spiders per acre of land on our planet.

Spiders curl up when they die.

Spiders control the hemolymph pressure in their legs to extend it and walk. Once, spiders die, there would be no more hydraulic pressure to extend their legs. As a result, their flexor muscles return to their original length, eventually curling up.

Spiders do not have bones.

Instead, an exoskeleton provides its body’s structure, protection, and support. In detail, an exoskeleton is often made of chitin and proteins, or calcium carbonate which is formed outside the body.

There is a spider that lives underwater.

Also known as the water spider, the diving bell spider (Argyroneta Aquatica) is the only spider species known to live almost completely underwater.

The diving bell spider bites hard.

Although they live in a different habitat, the diving bell spider’s bite is reported to be painful to humans and could result in inflammation, mild fever, and even vomiting.

diving bell spider
Photo by Ввласенко on Wikimedia Commons

The diving bell spider can stay underwater for more than 24-hours.

The diving bell spider only needs to come to the surface once a day to get some air. For the rest of the day, they stay in a bell-like web which acts like an air bubble under the water.

The diving bell spider lives in the freshwater habitats of Asia and Europe.

The diving bell spider’s color varies from mid to dark brown. Meanwhile, the hairs on its abdomen are dark grey with velvet-like appearance. This species is native to freshwater habitats of Asia and Europe.

The term "spider" came from an Old English word.

The term “spider” came from the Old English word, ‘Spithra’ and ‘Spinnan’ which means “to spin.”

Hummingbirds rely on spider webs for their nests.

Hummingbirds collect spider webs to weave their nests. These bird species are the smallest birds species that are native to the Americas with an average length size of only 2 to 5 inches.

Jumping spiders can jump up to more than 20 times their body length.

Gifted with fast reflexes, jumping spiders normally pounce on their prey. If they were the size of humans, they would be able to jump over 100 feet.

Jumping spiders don't have strong muscular legs.

Instead, jumping spiders make huge leaps by forcing their body fluid into their hind legs. The resulting tension fully straightens their legs and sends the spider soaring.

The spider's web is not a passive trap.

According to scientists, spider webs spring towards their prey automatically due to the electrically conductive glue across the web’s surface.

Spider webs were used as "band-aids" by early civilizations.

In ancient times, people would put spider webs on their wounds to stop the bleeding. Interestingly, spider silk contains vitamin K, which actually helps reduce bleeding.

Peter Parker was bitten by a noble false widow spider.

One of the most famous superheroes is Spiderman. Before he was Marvel’s webslinging hero, Peter Parker was bitten by a Steatoda Nobilis, more known as the noble false widow. Definitely one of the cooler spider facts.

False Black Widow Spiders are less harmful compared to Black Widows.

Although its bite is just as painful, False Black Widow Spiders are less harmful to humans compared to true Black Widows. For one, False Black Widow bites don’t require immediate medical attention.

Meanwhile, the true black widow’s bite can cause mild to severe symptoms. One way to tell them apart is by looking for the distinct red hourglass pattern found in black widows.

noble false black widow
Photo by Stu’s Images on Wikimedia Commons
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