Looking for unknown spiders: Part Two


Common orbweaver spider
Photo by: Aaron Baldwin

Level 3

Spiders are not insects. They are arachnids.
Spiders are like distant cousins to insects.
Insects and spiders are part of a very large group called arthropods.
Close to 90% of the animals on Earth are arthropods.
Some common arthropods are butterflies, ants, bees, flies, crabs,
and shrimp. Arthropods are a major part of the diet for other animals
in the world.

Spiders and insects
All arachnids have eight legs. Insects have only six legs.
Arachnids have no wings. They cannot fly.
But some spiders can float on the wind. They hang onto long pieces of silk.
The bodies of arachnids have two parts. Insect bodies have three parts.
Young spiders, or “spiderlings”, look like small adults when they are born.


Arachnids have two body parts.

wasp-praying mantis

Insects have three body parts.

Catching food
Spiders are predators. They live on other spiders and insects.
Spiders don’t have ears. But they can tell where a sound comes from
by the movement of air on the hair on their legs.
Some catch their prey by surprise. They hide and then jump on their prey.
Others catch their food with sticky silk. Some spit at their prey.

A different way of eating
Spiders don’t have mouths like birds or mammals.
They do not chew to eat. And they cannot swallow.
They squirt a liquid into their prey.
This liquid turns the insides of their prey to soup.
Then spiders use the muscles of their stomach to suck up that soup.

Spiders are important
Spiders help control insects in our gardens.
These small animals are a very important part of nature.
In another five years we will be able to read a new book.
It will tell us about spiders unknown to us until now.

Spiders are beautiful.
These pictures show some common spiders in B.C.
They are not harmful to humans.


Garden cross spider
Photo by: Maurice Walsh


Giant house spider
Photo by: Mary Kald