8 Weird But True Facts About Spiders

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spiders can see tiny stuff

1. Some male spiders just want to be eaten

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Female Black Widow Spider, Latrodectus mactans. (Photo by: Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, Insect Zoo/ Butterfly Pavilion)

Black widows are known for cannibalizing their mates, but this doesn’t actually happen all the time. The exception seems to be the red widow, where the male force feeds himself to the female by placing himself into her mandibles. If she ‘spits him out,’ so to speak, he will keep placing himself there until she eventually eats him.

2. Spiders can see what we cannot

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Anterior Median and Lateral Eyes of a Female Jumping Spider, Maevia inclemens. (Photo by: Thomas Shahan)

Certain species of salticids (jumping spiders) can see into spectrums we humans cannot. A few have been shown to be able to see both UVA and UVB light.

3. Some tarantulas fling hair at predators

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Chilean rose-haired tarantula, Grammostola rosea. (Photo by Matt Reinbold)

New-world tarantulas are capable of flinging off tiny irritating hairs, known as urticating hairs, to deter potential predators, similar to a porcupine using its quills as a defense.

4. Spiders can work together

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Tetragnathid web at Arkansas Bend Park, Lago Vista, TX. (Photo by: Joe Lapp)

While most spiders are solitary animals, there are some that form communities building large communal cobwebs. Colonies can number in the thousands of individuals and they will work together to incapacitate prey trapped in their webs and share the harvest with each other.

5. Spiders can go fishing

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Net-throwing Spider, Ankarafantsika, Madagascar. (Photo by: Frank Vassen)

There are some ingenious ways spiders use to capture prey. For instance, the ogre-faced spider weaves a net between its front legs and then dangles above places where prey are likely to pass through. By using its web like a net, it scoops up hapless prey. Bolas spiders use a long line of silk ended with a spot of sticky glue (a bolas), swinging it at nearby moths to catch them, much like a fishing line.

6. Spiders are the real superheroes

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Photo by: Fabian Viana

For its weight, spider web silk is actually stronger and tougher than steel.

7. Spiders can be ants in disguise!

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An ant-mimic spider, Synemosyna formica. (Photo by: Patrick Coin)

There are over 100 species of spiders that mimic ants by having evolved similar appearances and even similar pheromones. Most do it to evade predators, but a few do it to help them prey on ants.

8. Spiders have inspired their own dance

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Wolf spider face (Photo by: e_monk)

During the 16th and 17th centuries it was believed that a bite from a species of wolf spider (named “tarantula,” found in the Taranto region of Italy) would be fatal unless the victim engaged in frenzied dancing to a specific piece of music. It inspired a dance locally known as the tarantella.

 

Via: Smithsonian Science

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