10 Interesting Facts about Spiders
Love them or hate them, there are many interesting spider facts. They are fascinating creatures and while you may not be thrilled if they’re in your home, spiders are one of nature’s most brilliant predators. They help to control populations of disease-spreading insects and regulate natural processes.
While spiders are often mistaken for insects, they aren’t, because they belong to the group of invertebrate creatures with only two main body parts, known as Arachnida. This group also includes ticks, mites, and scorpions. Curious to learn more? What follows are ten interesting facts about spiders to help you become better acquainted with these eight-legged creatures.
How many species of spiders are there in the world?
While new species of spiders are being identified, researched, and named on a daily basis, biologists believe there are roughly thirty-five thousand species of spiders. These are grouped into three sub-orders and seventy different families.
What’s the difference? Most spiders are differentiated and broken down into groups based on what they eat, where they live, and how they behave. Common types of spiders include tarantulas (the largest spiders), wolf spiders, trap-door spiders, jumping spiders, crab spiders, and funnel-web spiders.
How many spiders are poisonous to humans?
There are very few species of spiders, especially in the United States, that are poisonous to humans. The most common poisonous species are the black widow spider and the recluse spider. Both of these spiders’ venom can be deadly to humans. There are also some varieties of wolf spiders in South American and running spiders throughout the rest of the world that have venom that causes very painful reactions. In Australia, there are many species of venomous spiders (up to one hundred), with several that are life-threatening to humans.
While most spiders aren’t poisonous, it’s important to know that not all poisonous spiders will even have the same effect on their victims. Some spider venom, such as that from a black widow spider, is neurotoxic, affecting the nervous system beyond the actual site of the bite. Other spider venom is necrotic, meaning it only damages the tissues around the bite.
What is the world’s most dangerous spider?
While there are several species of spiders whose bites are highly toxic to humans, the Brazilian Wandering Spider is one of the most dangerous of them all.
It is a large brown spider that appears similar to the North American Wolf Spider, but has a much more potent venom. It is an active hunter and its bite contains high levels of serotonin. This can result in muscle paralysis and occasional death even after antivenin treatment has been administered.
How many spiders do you eat a year while sleeping?
While the rumor that you swallow “up to eight spiders a year” while sleeping has become a widely circulated Internet “fact,” most scientists actually believe this notion to be false. Most spiders do not leave their dwelling places in the middle of the night to crawl all over humans–largely because they are afraid–and you would likely awaken to the sensation of spiders’ legs all over your face.
Swallowing spiders while you are sleeping is believed to be a much less common occurrence–once a year, if not less–than is widely believed.
How close are you to a spider at all times?
While your proximity to a spider will vary depending on where exactly you are (for example, fi you’re standing on your lawn, there are probably spiders directly beneath you), most humans will be anywhere from seven to a few hundred feet away from a spider at all times.
How many spiders are in an acre of land?
Again, this statistic will vary depending on where exactly you are. If you’re standing on an acre of parking lot, there probably aren’t that many spiders, but if you’re in the middle of the Amazon rainforest…you get the drift.
Regardless, in most locations, scientists estimate that there are about one million spiders per acre of land. In the tropics, that number is even higher–up to three million!
What are the good things about spiders?
While they can be a bit creepy to look at, spiders are actually helpful creatures to have around.
They eat a wide variety of pests, including cockroaches, flies, moths, mosquitoes, and even earwigs. This helps to prevent the spread of dangerous diseases, such as typhus and West Nile virus.
Spiders rarely attack humans unless they feel threatened, but their venom can be used in many medicines. Furthermore, studies into the integrity of the silk of spider webs has been used in scientific engineering to help produce strong artificial silk–that may eventually be used to produce bulletproof vests, parachutes, and other materials.
What are spiders afraid of?
Spiders will avoid most people, animals, and other insects (besides their prey, of course). They have poor eyesight and will rely on their other senses, making them skittish. This is why spiders tend to be found in seldom used areas such as basements, garages, or attics.
Who are their predators?
Spiders are considered prey to a variety of larger creatures, including lizards, toads, birds, and monkeys. In some cultures, even humans consider spiders prey! In most cases, however, humans are dangerous to spiders only in the case of accidentally stepping on them or killing them throughout the use of unrelated pesticides or herbicides.
The most common predators of a spider is the spider-wasp. These wasps paralyze spiders by stinging them, and then lay eggs inside the immobile arachnid. When the egg hatches, the baby wasp eats the paralyzed spider.
Most spiders have eight simple, primitive eyes. Their main eyes, of which they have two, have a field of limited but high resolution vision. The other eyes detect the difference between lightness and darkness. Therefore, spiders are unable to see long distances, but are more successful at detecting shadows.
Spiders often rely on vibrations to tell if there is food in their webs or to sense danger.
They have sensitive claws and can detect different types of movement. These claws also help them detect tastes and smells. Spiders have a strong sense of smell and will use this to help find prey.
Spider Facts Summary:
All in all, spiders are beneficial creatures that are among the most common “uninvited” household guests. Two out of three American homes contain some type of spiders, and while arachnophobia–the fear of spiders–is an adequately justified fear, rest easy in knowing that very few species of spiders are toxic. This is especially true in colder climates.
If you happen to spot one of these eight-legged animals scuttling around your house, avoid touching it. However, you should remember that they shouldn’t always be considered pests. Spiders help curb the presence of other pests and can help to prevent the spread of disease. So if you see a spider or find its web in your home, instead of squashing it, consider simply moving it outside. In the future, prevent spider infestations by locking potential entry points and keeping a clean, tidy living space. Otherwise, there’s nothing to fear! These quiet predators are some of the most beneficial and least destructive house guests you could possibly have.