Spiders come in many different shapes, sizes and kinds. They can be creepy but useful, tiny or unusually large, and range from dangerous to completely harmless, but one thing is certainspiders can be found everywhere! Some studies have stated that you can find a spider within three feet of you at all times. This doesn't sound so unbelievable once we know that there are about 35,000 known spider species and that they have been around for at least 380 million years! Scientists estimate that there may be about 180,000 spider species in the world.
Spiders are creative creatures; they spin webs that can be very intricate and beautiful if you stop to look at them. They build their webs out of silk, which their own bodies produce and they pull out of two openings, or spinnerets, with their hind legs. Spiders rebuild their webs constantly, eating them and recycling the silk to make brand new ones. They use these webs to travel, or "balloon," from one place to another, as protection at the entrances of their dwellings and to encase egg sacs, and most importantly, to trap insects for food.
People tend to think that spiders are insects but they are classified as arachnids. There are some significant differences between the two. Spiders have eight legs but ants, bees, beetles and other insects only have six. Most insects have wings or antennae, but spiders do not. The arachnid classification includes daddy long legs, scorpions, mites, and ticks, too.
Tarantulas, jumping spiders, black and brown widows, wolf spiders, garden spiders, funnel-webs, and brown recluses are just a few of the interesting types of spiders. There is so much to learn about the "web" of arachnids; get started with the links below:
The Arachnology Home Page ...."The Arachnological Hub of the World Wide Web"
American Tarantula Society ....You can be a Member!
Spiders ....A Classroom Resource
The Spider Webring ....Websites for Spider Lovers
Arachnology For Kids ....Spiders made Simple
Spiders in and Around the House ....From Ohio State University
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