More Facts About Types of Spiders


Spiders are invertebrates, which means they don't have backbones.  These small creatures help plants reproduce by pollinating them.  They also help recycle dead trees and animals back into the earth.  They are also a vital source of food for birds, fish, and small mammals.  Without invertebrates, like spiders and insects, many other living things would not survive.


Spiders are not insects. Insects have three body parts and six legs.

Spiders have eight legs and two body parts, the abdomen and the thorax.

Spiders have silk spinning glands called spinnerets, at the tip of their abdomen.

Not all spiders spin webs. Spiders belong to the Arachnid family.

There are more than 30,000 species of spiders.

Spiders are oviparous, which means their babies come from eggs.

Most spiders have either six or eight eyes.

Most spiders have fangs, through which venom is ejected. 

Opiliones are commonly called shepherd spiders, harvest spiders or harvestmen.

The term harvestmen or harvest spiders was a result of them being seen only during harvesting time. They are also referred to as daddy long legs but should not be confused with similarly named spiders, the Pholcidae.

 Opiliones are not spiders and have no spinning organs, fangs or venom glands and are harmless to man.

Spider bites can be quite painful, and a select few can be fatal.

Fear of spiders is called Arachnophobia. It is one of the most common fears among humans.

Tarantulas shed their furry skin as they grow, leaving behind what looks just like another tarantula.

Spiders eat many types of harmful insects, helping to keep your garden free of pests.

Spiders are creatures that have 8 legs, have no wings or antennae. They have 2 distinct body parts called the thorax or head and the abdomen. Spiders have an exoskeleton, meaning that their skeleton is on the outside.

Spiders have as many as 8 eyes, but some spiders have only 6 eyes and several spiders have fewer or even none. All spiders have fangs through which venom is ejected. The tip of the abdomen has silk spinning glands called spinnerets by which a spider can spin a web. However, not all spiders spin webs.

Most spiders are very nearsighted.  To make up for this, they use the hair on their body to feel their way around and to sense when other animals are near.

Webs get dirty and torn, so lots of spiders make a new one every day.  They don't waste the old one, though--they roll it up into a ball and eat it!

Young spiders resemble adults. Only their size and coloration differ.

Male spiders are usually smaller than female spiders.


More Facts

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The garden spider is black and yellow.  It spins webs where insects often fly, such  in flower gardens and around light fixtures.

A wolf spider chases insects rather than building a web to catch them.


The black widow spider is the only spider with a poisonous bite.



The trapdoor spider spins a web in a hole in the ground, and then catches insects as they walk by.

A grass spider has a funnel - shaped web and is often seen on lawns.


The tarantula is the largest in the spider family and may live for more than 30 years.

A crab spider is often the same color as the flower they hide in and may change color.

spider crab picture 

Daddy Longlegs

Is this a spider or an insect?



The Garden Spider


The orange garden spider has an unusual web, it is cartwheel - shaped. This is called an orb web. This spider spins a zigzag line of silk across the middle of its web.  It is called a trap line.  Some of the silk is sticky so the spider can catch its prey. It never gets caught in its own web because it has a coating of oil on its legs.

The garden spider holds onto the trap line as it hides nearby.  When an insect gets caught, the trap line vibrates.  The garden  spider feels the movement.   It runs out to capture it prey.

To view how this spider actually makes a web go to this link.


The Trap-door Spider

The trap-door spider digs a hole using spiny teeth on it jaws.  Then it lines the hole with spider silk and makes a secret door at the top.  From this safe tunnel, it scoots out to catch a meal or pops in to hide from an  enemy.




This is the largest spider in the world. A tarantula will live about 90 percent of its life in a burrow. Tarantulas dig deep burrows and line them with silk webbing, which helps prevent sand and dirt from trickling in. Tarantulas might look creepy, but in a human, a tarantula bite is unlikely to cause problems other than pain at the site.

Female tarantula may look mean and fierce.  But they are good spider moms.  They don't let their young ones out of their sight.  Female tarantulas and many other spiders carry their cocoons  with them.  After the baby  spiders hatch out, the female may carry them on her back for a while. If one spider baby falls off, mom quickly retrieves it.

The hairy South American bird spider is a monster of the tarantula family.  One species is ten inches from toe to toe-as big as a dinner plate.

This spider eats lizards, birds, even mice!  It dissolves their insides with its venom and then sucks them dry.

Tarantulas often live up to twenty years.


Black Widow

This lady spider carries powerful poison.  Sometimes she kills her mate and then eats him! 

Almost all spiders carry venom.  But the female black widow spider of the southern United States is famous for hers.  Although she is only about half an inch long, her poison has occasionally killed humans.  Luckily, the black widow isn't usually found near people.


Crab Spiders

spider crab picture

Crab spiders scuttle sideways just like crabs.  They hide in flowers and plants.  They attack with a poison bite on an insect's neck or head.

A crab spider can change color to match then flower it's hiding in.


Wolf Spiders

Wolf spiders don't make webs.  Instead, they chase their prey and run it down, the way wolves do. 

Wolf spiders often prowl in the dark.  They have eight eyes to help them see.  Hunting wasps are their greatest enemies.


Daddy Longlegs


Daddy longlegs, or harvestmen, are relatives of true spiders.  Like spiders, they have eight legs.  But, these dads can drop a leg or two to get away from an enemy.  Some daddy longlegs spiders' are moms.

Daddy-long-legs spiders have venom glands and fangs but their tiny fangs are fused at the base and they cannot open their jaws wide enough to bite humans. As they cannot bite humans, their venom has not been studied in detail. As far as Dr Mike Gray (senior archeologist at the Australian Museum) knows, there is no evidence in the scientific literature to suggest that the venom of daddy-long-legs could harm humans.

However daddy-long-legs kill and eat other spiders, including Redback Spiders whose venom CAN be fatal to humans. Perhaps this is the origin of the rumor that daddy-long-legs are the most venomous spiders in the world. It might be argued that if they can kill a deadly spider, they must be even more deadly themselves, but daddy-long-legs only need to be quicker to bite, not more venomous.


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