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Nature

Eight Legged Royalty

Spider facts for kids and adults

Golden Orb Spider
Golden Orb Spider photo courtesy of Amandad from Pixabay

Although people find our eight legged friends creepy, without them other insects would run amok, destroying crops and not to mention the mosquitoes and flies. All spiders have some form of venom but few are dangerous to humans.

Most spiders create silk which they use to make webs in order to catch prey. It takes about an hour to build a web and spiders make a new one every day. Some spiders ingest some of the old web in order to reuse the proteins. Old silk may also be used as a sack to carry eggs. An abandoned web is called a cobweb.

So, why doesn’t a spider get stuck in its own web?

This is mostly due to the fact that the web is covered in a kind of glue and spiders legs have a kind of oil on them which makes them less likely to stick. In addition the spiders legs are covered in hairs and the glue runs down the hairs without sticking to the leg. Spiders have a special claw that allows a spider to keep the web away from its legs and if need be, to shake itself free from the web.

So where does the Royalty bit fit in? Well spiders have blue blood!

Humans have red blood due to the oxygen being bound to hemoglobin which has iron and is red. Spiders on the other hand have their oxygen bound to hemocyanin which contains copper rather than iron and oxidized copper is a blue/green color.

Not all spiders use webs to catch their prey, jumping spiders have very good eyes and stalk and jump onto their prey. Their prey consists of insects and even other spiders. jumping spiders can jump up to 50 times its own body length.

Spider eyes
Photo by Ronnie Overhate from Pixabay.

Most spiders have eight eyes but some do have less. Spiders have a greater need for more eyes as they can not turn their heads the way we can.

The two large front eyes will be used to detect the prey and judge distances while the eyes on the side detect any movement to the sides which could be prey or predator.

Once the prey is caught, most spiders inject venom to kill the prey and this starts breaking down the contents. The spider then sucks out the nutritious contents often dropping the left over exoskeleton.

But who eats spiders? chiefly birds, toads, lizards, other spiders and parasitic wasps.

Certain South American tribes consider the tarantula a delicacy !

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