When it comes to bugs, most people try to avoid them. Spiders especially seem to have a habit of frightening people away. With a tendency to avoid spiders, it’s no surprise that there are some misconceptions about them. We went ahead and separated the spider facts from fiction. Check them out and see how much you actually know about spiders.
All Spiders Make Webs
Fiction. This one is definitely a little surprising. From early on, we are taught about spiders and the webs they weave. While every spider produces silk, they do not all create webs. Some spiders use their silk for climbing, creating egg sacs and nests, and as a safety precaution if they fall. Spiders who decide to go web free must find other ways of eating dinner. For example, the jumping spider stalks its prey, eventually ambushing them with a jump attack.
Spiders Can Be Helpful
Fact. Despite people running away from them, spiders hanging around can be a good thing. Spiders do a great job of controlling insect populations. The occasional spider in your house can keep other unwanted pests away. Farmers also show some appreciation for spiders. Having spiders in gardens and near crops is beneficial. Spiders eat the bugs that like to nibble on the crops. The next time you eat your veggies, you may want to thank the spider hanging around outside.
Only Some Spiders Are Dangerous
Fact. Yes, the nightmares are terrifying. No, not all spiders will harm you. Spiders like the brown recluse and black widow make people cautious, which is completely justified given their toxic venom. However, while almost all spiders have some kind of venom, they are not all dangerous to humans. Thankfully, the toxicity of most spider venom is low enough that we don’t have to worry.
Spiders Are Insects
Fiction. Spiders are technically not insects. Instead, they are classified as arachnids. Arachnids have four pairs of legs, two body segments, and lack antennae. To be considered an insect, you must meet certain requirements. Six legs, an exoskeleton and a segmented body with three sections are necessary to be classified as an insect. Most insects also have antennae. Unfortunately, this means the spider won’t make the cut for team insect.
Spiders Have 20/20 Vision
Fiction. Despite most spiders having eight eyes—some actually have six—they have relatively poor eyesight. This means that spiders have to rely on their other senses for survival. Spiders tune into the vibrations of their webs. This alerts them to any prey that has landed. It also helps them identify any damage they need to repair. There are always a few exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, spiders won’t pass their yearly eye exam.
Spiders Can Eat Their Own Webs
Fact. Some spiders like to recycle. Orb-weaving spiders sometimes choose to eat the silk from their webs. By breaking down the amino acids in the silk, they can replenish their protein supply. The protein is then used in the production of silk. While this isn’t an everyday occurrence, it does ensure that orb-weavers always have access to necessary protein.
All Webs Look the Same
Fiction. We may not notice the design of a spider’s web when we are knocking it down, or running away from it, but the shape varies. Spiral orbs, tangled, sheet, funnel, and triangle webs are all woven by spiders. Each web is designed to help the spider capture prey by its preferred means. For example, funnel-web weavers use their web to hide as they wait for bugs to enter their homes. If you take the time to look at the design, you’ll have an idea of what spider you’re about to encounter.
Several tales have clearly been spun about spiders. When you don’t spend a lot of time with them, it makes sense that there would be some confusion. Now, you have the facts. Did any of them surprise you? Let us know in the comments below!