The spider


Web and silk

The body

Sex and reproduction

The jaws and poison

Spider enemies

Blood circulation, the lungs and moulting

Literature and acknowledgements

The nerve system, sensory organs and legs


Spider enemies

Spiders are soft bodied animals and can be eaten and consequently have many enemies.
Nematodes (round worms) and mites are known parasites of spiders. The mites can easily be spotted on the spider as red dots.

Also birds, lizards, geckos, scorpions and centipedes catch spiders from the ground or out of their web.
There are wasps specialized in spider hunting, the spider wasps (Pompilidae), use the captured spider to lay their eggs in. The larvae hatched inside, feed on the paralyzed spider.
There are also spider flies (Acroceridae) that attack spiders and deposit the young fly larvae to a spider's leg. These larvae penetrate the book lungs and consequently kills the spider.
Ants can sometimes been seen dragging a killed spider.
The praying mantis, a great killer, eats any insect or spider it runs into, even another praying mantis that happens to be on it's knees.

Wasp with spider.

Mantis, Mantis religiosa

The greatest threat to spiders is other spiders. When times are hard and food is scarce, it becomes hard for the spider to overlook it's next of kin.

A familiar spider in our house is the daddy-longleg, Pholcus phalangioides.She is a great spider killer. In the springtime, she is one of the last living spiders in our house. Every other insect or spider is consumed by her during the winter. In the end when famine strikes, they even kill each other.

Also in the family Mimetidae and Ero are specialized spider killers. Ero attacks a spider by biting it in one of its legs. Then it retreats and waits at a safe distance until the bitten spider is paralyzed in a few seconds. Then it returns to suck it empty.

Daddy-longleg, Pholcus phalangioides

We humans, have a bad habit of disturbing the natural world for our own selfish ends. In doing so we destroy many habitats in which the spiders live. Insecticides in agricultural activities wipe out the whole populations of insects and spiders. Many species of spiders are currently on a Red list and are in danger of becoming extinct. Tarantulas from South-America have become rare because many of them are caught and sold as pet animal. In many counties the law forbids killing, catching and selling of endangered species.



Ed Nieuwenhuys, January 2006

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