8 strange but true spider facts


Black widow spider

Black widows are known for cannibalizing their mates, but this doesn’t actually happen all the time. The exception seems to be the red widow, where the male force feeds himself to the female by placing himself into her mandibles. If she ‘spits him out,’ so to speak, he will keep placing himself there until she eventually eats him.


Jumping spider eyesCertain species of salticids (jumping spiders) can see into spectrums we humans cannot. A few have been shown to be able to see both UVA and UVB light.


Tarantula missing hairsNew-world tarantulas are capable of flinging off tiny irritating hairs, known as urticating hairs, to deter potential predators, similar to a porcupine using its quills as a defense.


Communal spider webWhile most spiders are solitary animals, there are some that form communities building large communal cobwebs. Colonies can number in the thousands of individuals and they will work together to incapacitate prey trapped in their webs and share the harvest with each other.


Bolas spiderThere are some ingenious ways spiders use to capture prey. For instance, the ogre-faced spider weaves a net between its front legs and then dangles above places where prey are likely to pass through. By using its web like a net, it scoops up hapless prey. Bolas spiders use a long line of silk ended with a spot of sticky glue (a bolas), swinging it at nearby moths to catch them, much like a fishing line.


Spider silk on steel

For its weight, spider web silk is actually stronger and tougher than steel.


Ant-mimic spiderThere are over 100 species of spiders that mimic ants by having evolved similar appearances and even similar pheremones. Most do it to evade predators, but a few do it to help them prey on ants.


Wolf spiderThe dance known as the tarantella is thought by some to have originated from the belief during the 16th and 17th centuries that the bite of a certain kind of wolf spider (named “tarantula,” being found in the Taranto region of Italy) would be fatal unless the victim engaged in frenzied dancing to certain music.

–By Michael Miller. Miller is an animal keeper at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo who spends most of his time taking care of the animals who keep most people awake at night.

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  • http://www.my5newfriends.com Adam

    If you had to be a spider, which one would you be?

    I’d be number 7! Thanks for sharing this interesting article.

  • spiderabc1

    Thank you, informative and great pics. Happy Halloween. Might dress as a red widow.

  • Dave C

    There are very few animals that are cuter than a salticid!

  • Simon

    Nice article, but I suspect an inaccuracy.
    “New-world tarantulas are capable of flinging off tiny irritating hairs, known as urticating hairs, to deter potential predators, similar to a porcupine using its quills as a defense.”

    Is this true?
    Do they actually propel these hairs toward predators, or, as I believe is the case with porcupines, simply discard them when they make contact?
    Perhaps “casting off” would be better than “flinging off” .