What do you know about spiders?

There are around 40,000 spider species roaming the planet, but just how much do you know about these often misunderstood arachnids?


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What do you know about spiders?

Spiders can be found on every continent of the planet except Antarctica. They are both hunters and hunted. They capture their prey in a variety of ways, either by spinning a web and waiting for their unsuspecting prey to fall into the trap, or jumping out of a hiding place onto a passing meal. Except for the plant-eating Bagheera kiplingi, these eight-legged invertebrates are serial carnivores: most love to snack on insects while others are tempted by lizards, birds, frogs, fish and the occasional snake. There are spiders that eat other spiders, and some female widow spiders eat their mates, even while they are mating. In turn, spiders are preyed on by lizards, birds, snakes and scorpions as well as some insects such as the mantis and a type of wasp that buries the arachnid alive! Spiders are also eaten by humans; they are a delicacy in some cultures of the South Pacific and a popular street food in South East Asia.

Spider venom is present in most species and serves the purpose of stunning or killing their prey rather than attacking humans. In fact, only 25 of the known spider species produce venom which can actually harm humans, and although spider bites can be painful, they are rarely deadly. Australia’s notorious Sydney funnel-web spider has not produced any fatalities since anti-venom was developed in 1981. However, take care not to rub hairy spiders like tarantulas up the wrong way. When they feel in danger, they defend themselves by ejecting a cloud of urticating hairs. These irritating hairs then embed themselves in the skin or eyes of the attacker.

Despite having adapted to a range of habitats and temperatures, spiders rarely stray far from their home environment. Ballooning spiders are an exception as they can migrate fairly long distances by drifting through the air with air-filled balls of silk. Spiders tend not to favour significant changes in temperature, and tropical spiders such as tarantulas prefer warm surroundings and find many European climates a little nippy. Even the ones who hitch a ride to Britain by boat or plane from the tropics don’t survive long.

Spiders can produce several different types of silk from their silk glands and nozzles, otherwise known as spinnerets. They range from stickier threads used to weave webs to capture their prey to incredibly strong threads which can support their own weight. The toughest spider silk is up to six times stronger than human bone, and that made by orb-weaver spiders is on a par with the strength of steel. In fact, some experts suggest that spider silk would be more effective than Kevlar in bulletproof vests. However, harvesting the thread on spider farms is complicated as these territorial creatures prefer their own company and could end up killing each other. Nevertheless, having studied the complex nature of spider silk, scientists have managed to replicate the resilient fibres, which has enormous potential for developing a range of things from synthetic muscle tissue to high-performance sports clothing.

Arachnophobia, or the irrational fear of spiders, is among the most common phobias in the Western world. It is thought to date back thousands of years and might be the result of an instinctive response displayed in early humans. For a long time throughout Europe, spiders were wrongly believed to spread diseases such as the plague. However, out of all the known spider species on the planet, only around 2% are actually harmful to humans. Other cultures such as Native Americans depict them in a more favourable light as they believe spiders are lucky and consider them symbols of wisdom.


How do you feel about spiders? What do people in your culture think about them? What have you learned from this text?

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Average: 3.9 (9 votes)
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Submitted by olviz on Wed, 02/07/2024 - 01:15

Reading about spiders helps me learn new words and understand how to put sentences together better. It's cool to learn not just about the spiders but also how to talk about what they do, where they live, and how they interact with others. This makes my English better because I get to know more difficult words and how to use them in sentences.

Submitted by DSAC on Tue, 02/06/2024 - 04:46

I really like spiders, they help us reduce the plagues like flies, etc. They may be kind of scary or dangerous but I believe that if we don't annoy them they won't harm anyone around. I really liked the text.

Submitted by rbm-2009'5 on Tue, 02/06/2024 - 01:11

This text help me to increase my knowledge about spiders. And also about the different types of spiders that exist around the world and their characteristics about how do they look, what do they eat, etc.
Finally, I hate spiders and I think that I have "Arachnophobia" that means being afraid of spiders.

Submitted by pomelo on Mon, 04/24/2023 - 14:57

I feel the world of spiders is very rich, I don't know much about spiders as well as all spiders like there are even herbivorous spiders and tarantula spiders that can shoot hairs out of their bodies which is very good information. new to me, i learned a lot from that text a lot of new information for me

Submitted by ilovemen123 on Tue, 03/01/2022 - 12:24

I know life very well. And this text was phenomenal. Almost as great as jahya our English teacher. I would read this text again, but I can't because I have to go so. I hope I meet a spider some day, and we WILL become friends.
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Submitted by bjyxszd on Sun, 07/12/2020 - 04:04

I found that spiders are doing very good for their jobs. It can use its net to do so many things. It make me feel very surprised. I think we don't need to afraid of spiders. Because they are not pests. So we don’t need to hurt it when we see it. Maybe they will help us to catch the mosquitos. (hahahaha~)
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Submitted by Giovannichoi on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 13:09

Y...YEECKY!!! I really hate spiders! I hate every bugs! But the matter is that,: there are so many spiders and cockroaches in my house. Cause my home is on the first floor of the apartment, I often find those wriggling across the living room. One day, I found the really big, hairy spider at my porch, and I couldn't sleep well through whole week! Neverthless that fact, I think this text helped me to learn lots of informations, about spiders. Of course, I arleady knew lots about those, but I could make my part of brain about 'spiders' (not spiderman! LOL) more wider. Since I stepped on the spider when I was young, I couldn't control my body by myself, from freezing even just look or hear about these creatures, even for now! But reading this text, I could feel more comfort, because I AM just normal and It's just Arachnophobia. I couldn't move or talk or even blink in front of them, (and bugs) and after those were disappear, I've been feeling I am an idiot. But it was just normal. NORMAL. NORMAL!!!! And I knew that spiders are walking on the down web and the preys are caught on the across web. But I didn't know that there are webs which is as strong as the steel. Anyway, it made me to know more about it, but steal, I strongly think that those are CREEPY!!!

Submitted by xxNinjasHyperxx on Tue, 04/02/2019 - 15:44

In my opinion, spiders are actually really fascinating creatures. With their amazingly strong silk, which can perform multiple tasks, and their insanely friendly behaviour. A spider, in my culture, is a blessed insect as it made a web in the cave our holy prophet (saw) was hiding it prevented the enemies from coming in. I have learned that spiders are very amiable and misunderstood animals. I also learnt that some cultures actually eat these which surprises me and I'm not saying they should stop but it is kind of freaky!
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Submitted by TheBetterMyName on Mon, 01/14/2019 - 08:27

This text has helped me widen my knowledge aboout spiders. Now I know a lot of things about spiders, it is very useful!
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Submitted by myname on Wed, 06/13/2018 - 13:43

This text help me widen my knowlegde about spiders. Now I can know a lots of things about spiders, it really usefull !
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