10 Sensational Spider Species

10 Sensational Spider Species

Contents

Spiders are creatures that are both familiar and feared, frequently encountered, and yet sometimes capable of inducing serious injury or death through their venom. The spider is a form of creature that may induce instinctive anxiety in humans that may be regarded as a phobia. In certain species, this apprehension is justified. In other species, little danger to humans may exist, but eerie reproductive ways, predation habits, or bizarre physical attributes just might cause one to lose some sleep.

10 Plant-Eating Spider

Spiders are renowned for their aggressive predatory habits, but we will start this list with an ironic discovery that might just seem anticlimactic were it not so remarkable. There is a plant-eating spider on this planet. Native to areas with acacia vegetation in southeastern Mexico and northwestern Costa Rica, Bagheera kiplingi feeds on protein and lipid-rich Beltian bodies, small extensions found on the tips of the acacias on which this species lives.

Forming the bulk of the spider’s diet, the extensions seem to substitute for a diet of animal prey, giving ample nourishment to this very unique animal. Originally discovered in the 1800s, the spider was named by naturalists after Rudyard Kipling due to the author’s references to leaping panthers in The Jungle Book, to which the agility of the spider was compared. In 2001, Eric Olson of Brandeis University discovered the herbivorous behavior in Costa Rica before it was discovered in the Mexican portion of its range by Christopher Meehan from Villanova University.

However, there is a complication to living on the acacia plants in the form of a mutual relationship between the plant and the ants residing in the hollow thorns of the acacia. The ants attack animals that try to eat the acacia. In return, the ants feed on the Beltian bodies and shelter in the thorns.

Yet, the spiders are able to compete with the ants for Beltian bodies by living on dead leaves where the ants will not go, making forays into the plant to grab Beltian bodies before deftly escaping the ants. In an interesting alternative use of an existing adaptation, these peculiar plant-eating spiders use their exceptional jumping abilities, which in other spider species would be used to secure prey to obtain a meal without being attacked themselves. Rarely, these spiders will feed on the larvae of the dangerous ants, but they are primarily herbivorous, leading an exceedingly unusual life.

9 Pelican Spider

The outlandish pelican spiders of Australia, Madagascar, and South Africa set a new standard of strange in the evolutionary advancement of arthropods. Looking uncannily like a tiny replica of its namesake bird, pelican spiders have dramatically extended jaw parts and necks.

An elongated neck extends from the animal’s small body, with a head on top of the neck that has the angular shape of a real pelican. Tiny eyes are located at the front of the birdlike head, where dramatically elongated chelicerae, jawlike structures with projecting fangs, extend downward in parallel with the neck and slightly beyond. And form paves the way for rather eerie and remarkable function of what some might at first glance imagine to be its quasi-cannibalistic nature.

Members of the family Mecysmaucheniidae feed on a variety of prey items, but the Archaeidae actually feed on, of all things, other spiders, achieving success through a startling and cunning use of their remarkable physiological adaptations. Creeping up to the web of a normal spider, the pelican spider taps the web to mimic the struggle movements of a captured insect.

The long neck and fangs assist the pelican spider in reaching into the web without itself being captured. Once the spider comes close, the pelicanesque “beak” stabs the prey in spear fashion and injects venom through the fangs borne by its tip. After a struggle, the prey is dragged out of the web and consumed.

8 Australian Jumping Spider

Oh, the trials and triumphs of spider courtship! Tales of woe on the fate of hapless male black widow spiders are all too familiar in the annals of natural history. However, another very different species of spider stands out though its rather peculiar take on courtship. The male Australian jumping spider spider (Jotus remus), discovered in 2014 by Australian photographer and Australian Department of Agriculture staff member Jurgen Otto is still wary of being attacked by the female.

Thus, the male plays hard to get in a slightly coy and even deceptive way to attract her attention. This diminutive spider has small paddles on two specially modified legs, which it waves as it plays hide-and-seek behind leaves to impress females. Somewhat heart shaped, these paddles are structures that stand out as unique assets among spiders known to science.

The “peekaboo” fashion of behavior continues until the female is likely to be in a receptive position and less prone to suddenly attack the male. At this point, the male abandons his display and mates with her, his colorful patterns still standing out in the animal’s vegetated habitat.

7 Six-Eyed Sand Spider

The six-eyed sand spider (Sicarius hahni) is a lesser-known and fearsome marvel of nature hailing from the sandy deserts of the southern regions of the African continent. Named after little-known German naturalist Carl Wilhelm Hahn, this species has a remarkable hunting strategy that adds to the mystery around this potentially dangerous species.

This sand-colored spider with the 14-centimeter (6 in) leg span swiftly buries itself in the sand in a manner that has to be seen to be believed. It frenetically digs sand to make room for its abdomen before placing the sand back over most of its body in a sweeping motion like a windshield wiper. With a life span of up to 15 years to perfect its hunting technique, the six-eyed sand spider lies buried in sand to conceal its predatory presence, stays motionless until prey comes within striking distance, and then lunges forward to capture its prey.

While the prey captured is small, this creepy-looking, prehistoric spider, known to be a living fossil that may recall some crabs in appearance, can survive up to a year on just one meal if it has eaten properly. The genus name Sicarius translates directly to “murderer,” and this is where the danger to humans comes in, along with a degree of mystery.

The six-eyed sand spider has necrotic venom, with effects on humans that are not yet fully known. The bite of this spider is fatal to rabbits within 5 to 12 hours according to tests. While no confirmed human deaths have taken place, a loss of a limb and a fatality are potentially linked to this species.

With its hemolytic and necrotic venom causing leaks in blood vessels while destroying flesh through direct cell death, this species may be the most dangerous spider in the world, capable of killing humans in the same manner as smaller mammals. No antivenom exists, either, in case any peace of mind remains.

6 Ogre-Faced Spider

Looking like a fusion of arachnid body parts and robot eyes while acting like the arthropod world’s answer to a human net fisherman, the tropical and subtropical spiders in genus Deinopis have eerie faces and exceptional hunting ability. While most spiders have eight eyes but poor vision, the ogre-faced spiders are named for their bizarre, elongated faces and enormous, “posterior median eyes.”

The enormous eyes resemble a huge pair of binoculars embedded in the spider’s face, dwarfing its six smaller eyes and lending extraordinary visual capabilities. These abilities include exceptional night vision and clarity of view, enabling prey to be precisely tracked and targeted.

If the bizarre, sticklike shape and night vision monster eyes are not enough, this animal is the answer to a human fisherman in the aerial environment. With special hairs on its legs and remarkable dexterity, ogre-faced spiders weave a unique, net-shaped structure in lieu of a typical web. This structure is held between the four front legs and hurled upon passing insects, either flying or walking.

Flying insects are captured in a backward flinging motion, while a walking insect is caught when the net is pushed down onto the unfortunate creature. Unlike the creations of more normal spiders, this web structure is not actually sticky. Instead, it functions in the same manner as a fisherman’s net.

5 Spitting Spider

Forgoing a web for a more mobile mode of hunting, members of the family Scytodidae, the spitting spiders, constitute a particularly unique form of arachnid exceptionalism. Spitting spiders lack the silk-producing spinnerets common to more typical spiders.

Instead, these creatures live in forests and scamper around in pursuit of small prey items, which they capture by spitting a sticky, venom-infused mixture of fluids that immobilize the prey. The fluids are expelled from the poison glands and then fall upon the prey.

Next, the spider seizes the victim and injects a powerful venom that liquefies the insides of the prey before consumption. With a spindly appearance, the spiders have notably large venom glands to facilitate their copious spraying of venom and mucus.

The larger the prey, the greater the amount of mucus lobbed in its direction. The mucus is distributed through a head-shaking, spraying motion. Furthermore, these spiders have an interesting reproductive history to complement their remarkable hunting strategies. Females take two to three years to reach maturity and select males based on their pheromones. Mating takes place based on chance encounters, with care being taken by males to avoid being mistaken for prey.

4 Black And Yellow Garden Spider

This list shows that not only are spiders original and remarkable but there seems to be a spider to fit nearly every possible animal form. You name it: pelicans, scorpions, and now if you have not seen it all, a spider the color of a stinging wasp or bee.

While spiders can inject venom, it is reasonable for the enterprising naturalist to conclude that they are not quite capable of deterring many dexterous predators by this attribute alone. Spiders are frequently plucked from their webs by foraging birds, but a black and yellow garden spider may discourage such a hunter through its beelike or wasplike appearance. The logically named black and yellow garden spider is a fairly normal spider of the orb weaver variety found throughout much of North America.

The yellow garden spider, like many arachnids, is a species where sexual dimorphism means that males get the short end of the stick—literally. A grown male black and yellow garden spider is around one-fourth of the size of an adult female. Amusingly, males are also less colorful than females when compared to many species such as the majority of birds. Ironically, black and yellow garden spiders may consume the very wasps and bees that their appearance mimics should one of these insects become stuck in its web.

3 Sowbug Killer Spider

For various reasons, many people dislike sowbugs, more correctly known as woodbugs or woodlice, despite their actual classification as crustaceans. The name “sowbug killer spider” or “woodlouse hunter spider” will make this spider seem welcome to those experiencing a woodbug infestation.

Nonetheless, these spiders have a rather intimidating appearance and predatory capabilities, traits that equip them well for their more challenging lifestyle. With a reddish thorax, colorful legs, and beige abdomen, these spiders are unnervingly smooth and shiny in appearance with enormous fangs for their fairly respectable body size. Rather than spinning a web, the spider stalks and ambushes its land-dwelling crustacean prey before injecting venom.

There is a problem, however. Sowbugs have hard, chitinous shells that protect them from predators. With its disproportionately long, reinforced fangs, the spider pierces the target’s armor and injects a lethal venom, efficiently disabling the prey before preparing it for consumption.

The woodlouse hunter occurs in a broad range of woodlouse-supporting environments in North America, Europe, England, and Australia. Although this species has not been proven to be a seriously venomous spider to humans, there is cause for concern in handling this oversize, fang-bearing spider. According to the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, skin irritations known as erythema were attributed to the venom of this species.

2 Scorpion-Tailed Spider

The scorpion-tailed spider is one of those creatures that will make even the most seasoned naturalist pause for thought and say, “I thought I had seen it all.” Native to Australia and resembling a scorpion climbing in a spider’s web at first glance, the female of this remarkable species has a yellowish color and a body plan that presents a bit of a mystery of adaptation. Despite the animal’s outlandish appearance, scorpion-tailed spiders are very similar to regular web-making spiders, except for the female’s remarkable body appendage.

Extending from the abdomen is a giant formation that exceeds the length of the spider itself. The result of bearing the appendage is a rather leaflike appearance, but curiously, the appearance is also remarkably close to that of a genuine scorpion.

When disturbed, this species will curl up its tail in scorpion fashion, intimidating any predator that attempts to consume it. A pronged, clublike structure exists at the end of the appendage, perhaps resembling the clubs on some primitive species of dinosaur in miniature form. The spinnerets are not located at the end of the extension but right on the end of the main portion of the abdomen, the same as a “normal” spider.

1 Whip Spider

Stick insects are remarkable insects in their own right, and in keeping with our theme of mind-boggling spiders that look like anything but themselves, we now reveal a spider that looks for all the world like a genuine stick insect. The whip spider (Argyrodes colubrinus) of Australia has eight legs like all spiders, but the rounded abdomen typical of the spider form is replaced by a sticklike form with a remarkable length-to-width ratio.

Being remarkably slim, the abdomen is only 1 millimeter (0.04 in) wide. Yet females grow up to 22 millimeters (0.90 in) in length while males only reach 13 millimeters (0.50 in). It is from this body shape that the spider derives its name.

Suspended from a simple, minimalist web consisting of a few strands of silk, the spider drops down to capture its prey. This consists of wandering spiders, which are captured when the spider senses the movement of prey in the web and drops down for the kill.

It is believed that the spiders frequently prey on the smaller males of other species rather than focusing their hunting effort on females. The spiders retreat to hang off plants at night, but during the day, they camouflage themselves as broken sticks, just as a stick insect would.

Christopher M. Stephens, Msc., is an ecologist, conservation planning consultant from British Columbia, Canada, with a passion for discovering the most startling secrets of our natural world. He is the birding tour leader for Pacific Rainforest Adventure Tours, offering international visitors the opportunity to see remarkable Canadian birds up close and accepts custom bookings throughout the year.

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Spider Types and Identification Guide

Authoritative and detailed guides to the things you’re curious about.

Spider Identification

This spider identification guide will help you identify the spider you have found. It includes the two kinds of spiders in North America that are potentially dangerous to humans, the widow spiders and the recluse spiders. In addition, this guide will help you identify other species commonly found in basements, garages, and gardens.

Often the first thing people do when they find a spider is to start looking for a way to kill it. That’s too bad — spiders catch and eat all kinds of pest insects, especially mosquitoes, flies, and roaches. Your house is better off with a few spiders around, and in any case you’ll never kill all of them. If you did somehow wipe out all the spiders in your house, you would soon notice swarms of houseflies, fruit flies, mosquitoes, gnats, clothes moths, and assorted other pests flying around your house.

What’s in This Guide

Learning about spiders is a fascinating pursuit. For every group of spiders included here, this guide will answer several questions:

What is the spider’s scientific name? Also known as «taxonomy,» or an organism’s scientific name is a way for scientists and students to organize life on earth to reflect how they are descended from common ancestors.

Is the spider dangerous? A few spiders possess venom that can be dangerous for humans.

Where does it live? Animals typically have a more or less restricted range in which they occur, and spiders are no exception.

What is the spider’s habitat? Spiders live in a wide variety of places, including in trees, on flowers, or in caves. Some, of course, can be found in your basement.

What interesting habits does it have? Spiders have many different strategies for catching prey and staying alive.

Are All Spiders Dangerous to Humans?

The answer, of course, is NO. It’s true that there a few species of spider that can be dangerous, and they are discussed in this guide. But the vast majority of spiders that you find are helpful partners in human existence. Even though they may look scary, or exhibit habits that seems creepy and sinister, they are in fact among the most important players in the entire animal kingdom. Beyond that, any student who focuses on spiders will find an unbelievable range of disguises, technical abilities, and other eccentricities in the spider world. The study of spiders — Arachnology — is one of the richest fields for citizen scientists and professional researchers alike.

Potentially Dangerous Spiders

The two kinds of spiders discussed below — the widow spiders and the recluse spiders — are the only North American arachnids that pose any kind of threat to humans. It’s worth knowing how to identify them, and what to do it you should be bitten by one of the spiders in this group.

Widow Spiders

Black Widow and Related Spiders

The common black widow spider, Latrodectus mactans, is found throughout much of North America. There are related species in the Southwest and into Central America, including Latrodectus tredecimguttatus, the beautiful Mediterranean black widow. They are all potentially dangerous to humans, but the severity of the bite varies. In severe cases, muscle pain and cramping can persist for days, and occasionally can result in death, although with the advent of anti-venom there have been very few recent fatalities.

This spider spins tangled, disorganized webs in dark corners of basements, garages, and wall spaces. Black widow webs can also be found in rotten stumps and caves — any place sheltered and dark seems to fit the bill. In your house, these spiders keep to themselves and are quite shy, though it does happen that people get bitten by putting their hand in the wrong place without looking.

Black Widow Facts

What is the spider’s scientific name? Widow spiders are members of the genus Latrodectus. There are several species in North America.

Is the spider dangerous? Yes. This is one of the few spiders that possess venom that can be dangerous for humans.

Where does it live? The most common species, which is black with a red hourglass, occurs throughout the eastern US. Others occur mostly in the eastern US.

What is the spider’s habitat? Black widows spin webs in corners, stump holes, and cave entrances. Some, of course, can be found in your basement.

What interesting habits does it have? Black widows get their name from the female’s habit of eating the smaller male after mating.

What To Do If You Find a Black Widow

If you find a large, shiny black spider with long legs, look closely at the underside if you can. L. mactans almost always has a clear red mark underneath the abdomen, usually in the general shape of an hourglass. This mark can vary, though, and just because there’s no mark doesn’t mean it’s not a spider to be concerned about.

Don’t worry about trying to capture the spider — that’s when most people get bitten. Simply take a picture of the spider and contact a doctor or emergency room technician. They can help you identify your spider.

Recluse Spiders

Recluse Spider Identification

Recluse spiders get their name from their habit of hiding in dark corners and under neglected objects during the day. If you have a cluttered garage, it’s possible that there are recluse spiders there (along with plenty of other varieties of arachnid). Recluse spiders occasionally causes serious bites.

The bite of the brown recluse is not immediately painful, but it sometimes progresses to a skin-eating-type pathology that can cause extensive scarring, and even death, though this outcome is very rare. Some cases may be caused by a «flesh-eating» staph infection that is secondary to the venom. Regardless of the cause, a runaway reaction to brown recluse venom can leave its victim in very bad shape.

Brown recluse spiders come out at night to hunt small arthropods like cockroaches and centipedes, and that’s when humans can inadvertently come in contact with them. If you suspect you’ve been bitten by this spider, call 911 immediately or get yourself to the ER. Time is important when dealing with a brown recluse bite!

Comparison of Wolf Spider and Brown Recluse from Maryland DNR

Brown Recluse Facts

What is the spider’s scientific name? Recluse spiders are in the genus Loxosceles. There are several species, but the most common species, L. reclusa, occurs mostly in the American South.

Is the spider dangerous? Loxosceles species have a cell-destroying venom that can result in very serious lesions in humans. A brown recluse bite can turn into a medical emergency.

Where does it live? L. reclusa is common in the American South, and can be found as far north as New York.

What is the spider’s habitat? Recluse spiders hide in dark, quiet places during the day, coming out in the night to hunt for small insects. They do not spin a prey-trapping web.

What interesting habits does it have? Brown recluse spiders are night prowlers, which is how they occasionally come into contact with humans.

Map Showing Range of Recluse Spider Species in the US

Orb-Weavers

Orb-Weaver Spider Identification

Orb-weavers are the brilliant architects of the spider world. When you happen to notice a beautiful web decorated with shining dew drops, you are looking at the unbelievable work of an orb weaver spider. Spider silk is strong, but perhaps the best way to think of it is in terms of toughness. While silk is technically stronger than steel but not as strong as Kevlar, it is on fact tougher than both. Spider silk’s combination of strength and flexibility makes it one of the world’s miracles of composition.

And the orb-web weavers take this material and make the most beautiful art with it — art that is first and foremost designed to be functional. When a prey insect, say a small grasshopper, falls into the web, it is quickly tangled up and attacked by the spider. The web design is specially construction to catch up insects the spider can manage, and let the little ones it doesn’t care about slip through.

These amazing spiders often have bizarre shapes. They’re found nearly everywhere in the world.

Orb-Weaver Spider Facts

What is the spider’s scientific name? Orb-weavers belong to the family Araneidae. There are many kinds of orb-weavers; they share the common trait of weaving intricate webs.

Is the spider dangerous? No. Despite their often bizarre appearance, orb-weavers are harmless.

Where does it live? Orb-weavers are found throughout the world.

What is the spider’s habitat? These spiders spin webs across flight routes of insects, which generally means between trees and branches.

What interesting habits does it have? Orb weavers often spin webs around electric lights. They have learned to intercept the insects that come to the lights.

Garden Spiders

Garden Spider Identification

Garden spiders are a kind of orb-web spider that can be very common. They are among the largest and most beautiful of North American arachnids. Garden spiders are often found in late summer, when you will see them waiting, head-down, in the middle of their webs. These spiders spin tough, wide webs among weeds and overgrown areas, and they feed on crickets, grasshoppers, bees, and other insects. It’s thought that one reason garden spiders sit in the middle of their web is to keep birds, who have sharper eyes than insects, from flying through the web and destroying it.

Garden Spider Facts

What is the spider’s scientific name? Like all orb-weavers, garden spiders belong to the family Araneidae. There are many kinds, most of them large and brightly colored.

Is the spider dangerous? No. Despite their size, garden spiders seldom bite people and their bite is much less severe than a bee sting.

Where does it live? This family is found throughout the world.

What is the spider’s habitat? These spiders spin webs across flight routes of insects, usually low to the ground.

What interesting habits does it have? Garden spiders spin an «X» or other shape in the middle of their web, where they rest.

Wolf Spiders

Wolf Spiders

Wolf spiders are fierce hunters — despite their name, they are typically solitary — and take full advantage of their eight eyes to scope out their surroundings for any moving thing that could be dinner. They have fast-acting venom and a limitless appetite. One cool thing about wolf spiders is their habit of carrying their egg sacs attached to their rear end. When the little spiderlings hatch out, they all clamber up to rest on their mother’s abdomen.

Positive identification of wolf spiders is made by examining the eyes — wolf spiders’ eyes are especially large, unlike grass spiders and other similar arachnids. It’s also good to know that wolf spiders will bite if you mess with them enough, but their venom is fairly mild, causing pain similar to a bee sting.

Wolf Spider Facts

What is the spider’s scientific name? Wolf spiders belong to the family Lycosidae.

Is the spider dangerous? No — wolf spider venom is not harmful to human. A wolf spider’s bite is less painful than a bee sting.

Where does it live? Wolf spiders are found throughout North America.

What is the spider’s habitat? Wolf spiders are solitary hunters and can be found in almost any outdoor habitat.

What interesting habits does it have? Female wolf spiders carry their egg sacs around with their spinnerets — silk producing glands at the tip of the abdomen that all spiders have — until the spiderlings hatch.

Crab Spiders

Crab Spiders

The next time you’re out in a nature preserve or park, have a close look at the flowers around you. Not the carefully planted tulips and crocuses — focus on the wildflowers, especially the ones being attended by bees and butterflies. Look very closely, and there’s a good chance you’ll see one of the many species of crab spiders waiting for its prey.

Crab spiders do not spin webs — instead they sit motionless in a flower, camouflaged to the point of invisibility, and wait for a butterfly, bee, or fly to come looking for a nectar meal. When the prey insect is close enough, the crab spider strikes. With its strong, curved front legs (the source of its common name), the spider seizes its unfortunate victim, bites it with paralyzing venom, and drains it of its bodily fluids. The crumpled husk of the victim is all that’s left — the crab spider drops it to the ground and withdraws into the flower to wait for another meal.

Crab spiders are often very beautiful, and are almost always well-camouflaged on their perch. They can overpower and consume stinging insects like bees and wasps, as well as large, strong butterflies.

Crab Spider Facts

What is the spider’s scientific name? These spiders are in the family Thomisidae, and there are many kinds of spiders in this family; flower crab spiders are only one kind.

Is the spider dangerous? No — these spiders are shy and are nothing to be afraid of.

Where does it live? Crab spiders can be found all over North America.

What is the spider’s habitat? Flower crab spiders live, as you might guess, on flowers.

What interesting habits does it have? These spiders are beautiful, and beautifully camouflaged on flowers. They will attack, catch, and kill all kinds of other insects, including bees.

Grass Spiders

Grass Spider Identification

As their name suggests, grass spiders live in grassy areas, including lawns and parkways. They are quite common, and chances are good that the spider you are trying to identify will turn out to be one of the many species of grass spiders in the world.

Grass spiders spin low webs in the grass, and rush out of hiding areas to grab their prey. They possess a kind of venom called «agatoxins,» which paralyzes small insects but is not effective in humans, though large species will bite defensively. These arachnids control many common pests that would otherwise multiply out of control, so have a heart and let those grass spiders live!

Grass Spider Facts

What is the spider’s scientific name? American grass spiders are in the genus Agelenopsis.

Is the spider dangerous? No, although they can deliver a mild bite if you happen to lie down on one.

Where does it live? Grass spiders occur throughout North America. There are very similar species in Europe.

What is the spider’s habitat? These spiders live on the ground, in grassy habitats.

What interesting habits does it have? Grass spiders spin a distinctive flat web with a funnel on one end.

Jumping Spiders

Jumping Spider Identification

Jumping spiders are among the most interesting of the critters in and around your home. They’re quick, tough as nails, and some are pretty darn cute. They don’t usually spin webs — instead, they roam around, looking for prey to attack. When it finds prey, a jumping spider will suddenly leap several times its body length to grab and bite its victim. The power of the jumping spider’s leg muscles must be amazing, right? Wrong. Spiders don’t even have any leg muscles to speak of. It took scientists a long time to figure it out, but here’s how they do it:

When a jumping spider decides to jump, it creates a sudden change in its blood pressure (actually haemolymph pressure, but it’s basically the same thing). It uses strong muscles in its upper body to suddenly force much of its blood into its legs, which cause them to extend explosively. When all eight legs suddenly snap out straight, the spider shoots into the air.

When you see one of these little spiders on a porch railing or a windowsill, they will quickly notice you too. They have huge eyes to notice any movement around them. They’ll quickly swivel their body around to confront you, and often rear back on their hind legs to appear threatening.

Jumping Spiders Are Photogenic!

Jumping Spider Facts

What is the spider’s scientific name? Jumping spiders are in the family Salticidae. There are many kinds of jumping spiders.

Is the spider dangerous? No. Jumping spiders are not dangerous to humans, and will always seek to escape by jumping — which they are exceptionally good at.

Where does it live? Jumping spiders occur throughout the world.

What is the spider’s habitat? Jumping spiders can be found just about anywhere, from the desert to your back porch.

What interesting habits does it have? Jumping spiders have eyes like wide-angle motion detectors which sense motions from the side and behind. Jumping spiders have a nearly 360-degree view of the world.

Funnel Web Spiders

Funnel Web Spider Identification

There are many, many kinds of funnel web spiders, but a few varieties found in Australia get all the attention. The Sydney funnel web spider and its kin are among the world’s most venomous animals, and a bit from one of them send the victim into nightmarish seizures, often leading to death.

However, the funnel-web spiders you are likely to encounter are completely harmless, and eat so many flies, centipedes, and other crawling things that you really should give them a medal, not squash them with a handful of kleenex. They make cool webs that have a characteristic funnel shape in the middle where the spider hides, rushing out to grab any insect that happens to fell into its sticky, spreading net.

That said, the Sydney Funnel Web is one of the deadliest animals on earth. What’s it like to get bit by one? Read this terrifying story.

Funnel Web Spider Facts

What is the spider’s scientific name? These spiders are in the family Atracidae

Is the spider dangerous? Yes. Funnel web spiders produce a venom that can have a devastating effect on humans.

Where does it live? Funnel webs live all over the world, but the dangerous species are confined to Australia.

What is the spider’s habitat? These spiders live in places where they can dig burrows, which they use to ambush prey. The males occasionally roam in search of mates, and this is when they come into contact with humans.

What interesting habits does it have? Funnel webs have huge fangs, and are quick to attack and bite.

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Lynx Spiders

Lynx Spider Identification

These beautiful spiders are generally not common, so it you find one consider yourself lucky. They’re excellent hunters and seldom spin webs. Lynx spiders spend their days on plants, camouflaged among the greenery, waiting for small insects and other arthropods to ambush. Some are brilliant emerald green; others are shades of brown with finely striated markings that further their camouflage.

The spiny legs that serve as a good identifying characteristic are used as a kind of a basket to catch flying insects. Lynx spiders have excellent vision, with six of their eight eyes arranged in a hexagon — another good identifying characteristic.

Lynx Spider Facts

What is the spider’s scientific name? Lynx spiders are in the family Oxyopidae.

Is the spider dangerous? No — lynx spiders are harmless to humans.

Where does it live? Lynx spiders can be found all over North America

What is the spider’s habitat? Lynx spiders do not typically spin webs — they prowl for prey on flowers and foliage.

What interesting habits does it have? Lynx spiders are one of very few spider species that have exhibited social behavior.

House Spider Identification

Common House Spider

This cobweb spider is one of the most common arachnids in temperate regions. You almost certainly have them in your house! The coloring is variable but the size, shape, and characteristics of the web will help you know one when you see one. Some of the darker individuals could be taken for the more dangerous black widow spider, but only the black widow has the combination of shiny black body with bright red markings.

House Spider Facts

What is the spider’s scientific name? There are many kinds of spiders that are sometimes called «house spiders,» but one of the most common in the U.S. is the American house spider, Parasteatoda tepidariorum, a kind of cobweb spider.

Is the spider dangerous? No. The bite is of no consequence.

Where does it live? This spider lives throughout North America

What is the spider’s habitat? These are the spiders that you find in window casements and basements.

What interesting habits does it have? House spiders catch and kill many kinds of pest species.

Fishing Spiders

These amazing arachnids have evolved the ability to prey on fish, which they wait for on the surface of the water until the fish is close enough — and then they pounce!

Daddy Long-Legs Spiders

Daddy Long-Legs or Cellar Spider

There’s always been some confusion about the common name of these spiders — «daddy long-legs» in the US usually refers to arachnids properly called Harvestmen, while practically everywhere else the name refers to these long-legged spiders. You will most often see them in basement corners, motionless in tangled webs, waiting for prey, Leave them be! They gobble up tons of mosquitoes, flies, and other airborne pests.

What’s in a Web?

Spiders typically make webs in out-of-the-way places, and they are marvels of design. They are constructed from silk that is mainly protein, but have several other compounds, including sugars, lipids, ions, and pigments.

The actual process of spinning a web, whether beautifully ordered like an orb-weaver’s or tangled like a widow spider’s, is accomplished with the use of glands at the tip of the spider’s abdomen. These hands are often called «spinnerets,» and they are essentially liquid dispensers — the silk hardens as it hits the air, and so the spider need to constantly «pay out» the hardening silk in a fine thread. It does this with a rising and falling motion of its body, and also with the help of its hind pair of legs (every spider has eight legs).

As if that weren’t cool enough, spiders often have different kind of silk glands and different kinds of silk they can produce. For example, some silk is strong and smooth, and is used to attach the web to a tree or railing or other surface. Other silk from the same spider might be sticky and capable of tangling up prey. The two types of silk are necessary for the two kinds of uses. Amazing!

Sources

The following resources were consulted for this guide:

Questions & Answers

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Comments

GreenMind Guides

2 months ago from USA

Hi sounds like it was a wolf spider. Could have also been a kind of grass spider, if you found it outside.

James

Hey so I found a huge brown spider in my bathroom and I am trying to identify it this was a while ago but I’m still curious, it was large brown and fuzzy and it was in Maryland were I found it I didn’t seem aggressive because I was like a foot from it. So please help me figure this out.

Theodore Montgomery Daniel jr

I took a picture of the spider that I caught in my house tonight it’s actually the third one big black the size of a quarter

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Eleana

A year ago I was cleaning up my garage and had A pair of loose boots on , I felt a needle prick in my leg and than again in the back of my leg . Within a few minutes I started to itch all over, this was at noon, after taking Benadryl, 3 hot showers, at midnight I went to the hospital. Not able to control the itching. The doctors said if I was not already on a antibiotic I would be admitted to the hospital. I know I have black widows in my garage, but I cannot tell you what bit me. And yes I’m afraid of spiders

Juanita wight

I have a solid red spider in my house

Amanda

Hi i need a spider identifying if anyone can help me. She is quite large and kills common house spiders. She is silver with a pattern on her back but ive never seen a siver spider before.

Bidyakar sharma

I have a images of a spider that I am unable to identify the spider.

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