Spiders. Those eight-legged arachnids. Who needs them? Sure, they eat pests like flies and mosquitoes, but what’s so special about that? Well, take a closer look at these little creatures, and you’ll discover there’s more to them than meets the eye (or eyes).
1. They’re Artistic Hunters
Spider webs are unique to the type of spider that created them, and they vary in shape, size and texture depending on the method of hunting the spider uses. Some species of spiders build webs for hunting. Others build webs for nesting. Orb-weaver spiders are responsible for creating the stereotypical spider webs – those with a spiral design and spokes like a wheel. Triangle spiders build flat, fuzzy webs. The webs of funnelweb spiders serve as traps and hideouts.
Other groups of spiders with unique webs include cobweb spiders, mesh web spiders and sheet web spiders.
2. They Dance
Peacock spiders, a small species of jumping spider native to Australia, are famous for their dancing. Yes, their dancing. Males perform intricate dances to attract mates, often lifting their legs in and shaking their bodies in synchronized movements.
Adding to the display is the peacock spider’s trademark colorful abdomen. Each species has eye-catching, rainbow-like coloring in shades of red, gold and blue, among other hues. According to recent research, the colors are created by specialized scales on the spider’s back.
3. They Have Super Powers - Sort of
Jumping spiders are pretty incredible creatures with some impressive abilities. First, their name is not an exaggeration. These little spiders can jump – sometimes up to 50 times their body length. They do this by increasing the flow of body fluid to their legs, which helps them propel themselves. They frequently use this as a method of catching prey.
These spiders also have incredible vision. They have four sets of eyes and some of the best vision in the spider world. It’s believed that they can even see things humans can’t, including UVA and UVB rays.
Finally, one species of jumping spider called Myrmarachne melanocephala disguises itself as an ant to fool both predators and prey, even waving two of their long legs like antennae.
4. Their Silk is Strong - Very Strong
Spiders use silk, a material made from proteins and spun through special organs inside their bodies, to create their webs and to travel around. Some use the silk as an anchor for jumping, and others use it to float along in the wind.
Spider silk is famous for its strength and durability. It can absorb three times as much energy as Kevlar, the material used to make bulletproof vests, and some types of silk can stretch up to five times their original length.
Because of its impressive properties, scientists are finding ways to utilize this incredible material, including in bandages, bone tissue engineering and nerve regeneration.
5. They Can Be Milked
Did you know that spiders can be milked? Well, they can, and scientists do it for two reasons. The first is to collect venom in order to create anti-venom to treat spider bites in humans. The second reason spiders are milked is to collect their silk.
So, spiders can be pretty cool after all. Sometimes, though, it’s still not a good idea to have them around, especially dangerous spiders like black widows or brown recluses. If you’ve got these unwelcome guests in your home, a pest control professional from Terminix® can recommend treatment steps.