If a person suffers from arachnophobia the following information may not be interesting to them. Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders. Spiders however are interesting and remarkable little creatures. Spiders can be found everywhere and in many different sizes. A study once reported that there is probably a spider within three feet of a person at nearly all times. There are an estimated 40,000 different species of spider living everywhere in the world except the Antarctica.
Many people often mistake a spider for a type of insect, but it is not an insect. A spider has eight legs and insects have just six, plus something spiders do not have, antennae. Spiders are in a class of animals called arachnids. Other arachnids include mites, scorpions, and ticks.
The word spider means spinner in Greek, which may have come from their ability to spin webs. All spiders can spin silk, which is used for many different purposes, but there are some spiders that do not make webs, such as the wolf spider and jumping spider. The silk is used for a variety of reasons besides web making. It is used to catch meals, protect eggs, build shelters, and help them travel. When spinning webs, spiders use a wide range of patterns.
Spiders are great hunters and they stalk their prey, meaning they watch them carefully and adapt to the prey's habits to make catching them easier. Some large spiders prey on bigger animals such as birds. Nearly every species of spider uses venom to paralyze their prey. They inject the venom with their fangs into the prey through their bites. Since the prey can no longer move, it is then easy to eat. Since spiders do not eat solid foods, the prey they do catch is liquefied by a digestive enzyme that enters the prey during the bite. The spiders then 'drink' the prey in the same manner as if drinking from a straw.
Some female spiders use dances and rituals to attract a mate, and at times may eat the male spider if it gets too close. After mating with a male, it produces an egg sac which can contain nearly a thousand tiny spider eggs. The different species of spiders care for the eggs using a variety of methods. Many carry the eggs, some hide them, and others encase them in a web. When the spiderlings, or baby spiders, hatch they will each look like miniature versions of the adult spider, and some live on their own without the mother's assistance. In some species when the mother dies, the spiderlings eat the body.
Although spiders are found everywhere, and some people fear spiders, most of them are not dangerous to humans. There are a few that can kill a human, but it is rare. Only about 6 or 7 people die a year from a spider bite. A spider that can kill a human is called a tarantula with the largest one named the Goliath Birdeater. Another deadly spider, which has a leg span of about 12 inches in the Giant Huntsman spider.
Finally, the outside bodies of a spider are made of a tough exterior called an exoskeleton. Spiders have no bones on the inside of their bodies. Spiders come in many different colors such as black, brown, white, gray, red, yellow, green, and orange. Most spiders only live for about a year, but the tarantula can live for about 15 years.
In summary, the spider is an arachnid and there are about 40,000 different species of spiders living on nearly every continent of the world. Spiders are found everywhere and most are not harmful to humans. Many also can spin elaborate webs from silk, use the silk for protection and also for other reasons. The spider is an interesting creature unless a person has arachnophobia.