When people are asked about what spiders they are familiar with, the list is probably a fairly short one--Black Widow, Tarantula, maybe a Brown Recluse. Spiders are known for having eight legs and spinning webs, but knowing more about them can make dealing with infestations and even bites a little less complicated.
General Spider Identification and Information
All spiders have eight legs, and two body regions, a fused head and thorax and an abdomen. They have either six or eight eyes that are arranged in several ways, depending on the spider variety. Spiders inject venom through hollow fangs that are attached to a pair of jaw like structures called chelicerae. Spinnerets that produce silk are located around the abdomen area.
There are more than thirty thousand known spider species, although some scientists believe the true number is closer to fifty, or even a hundred thousand. There are some that when fully grown are no bigger than the head of a pin, and others can be as big as a human hand. Generally, baby spiders look very much like their grown parents, but they are often a different color.
Although many people may think they are insects, Spiders are classified as arachnids largely because of the number of legs they have. Insects are generally six legged, and have wings and antennae as feelers, as opposed to arachnid's eight legs. Others that are classified in the arachnid category are scorpions, mites and ticks.
Life Cycle and Feeding Habits
While there are some species of spiders that are able to live for several years, most only live for a season. No matter the life span, a spider grows by shedding skin, or molting, between four and twelve times. They lay eggs using the silk they spin to create egg sacs that can contain several hundred eggs each.
Predators that feed primarily on live prey, spiders secrete venom that is poisonous to their food sources in order to render them paralyzed. Since spiders can only digest liquids, they either inject or regurgitate digestive fluids into their prey. The digested liquid food is then sucked from the insect by the spider.
Every species of spider produces silk, but not all spin webs. There are a variety of tactics that, depending on the species, spiders use in order to capture prey. There are some varieties that simply spin a single line of silk with a sticky end used to capture prey, others that are active hunters, and others that use webbing to ensnare passing prey.
Harmful Spiders and Spider Bites
While it is true that all spiders have fangs, it is not true that all have poison glands, and certainly not all are harmful to humans. Most spiders do inject poison in order to capture food, but there are really only a handful of spider species that are a danger to people. Bites from these spiders can cause anywhere from a mild irritation to death in fairly rare cases. Brown Recluse, Hobo, Wolf, Brazilian Wandering, Widow and Sac spiders are among those that can cause dangerous and life threatening reactions in humans that are bitten.
In the event that you or someone around you may have been bitten by one of these spiders, it is important to first to keep the victim calm. Ice and anti-inflammitory pain medication may be applied to reduce swelling and pain. Contact a doctor as soon as possible. In some cases an anti-venom may need to be administered.
Pest Control - Interesting Facts
Termites do more damage per year to homes than all fires, earthquakes and storms combined.