PEST LIBRARY / SPIDERS
Spiders (Order Araneae) are ancient animals with a history going back millions of years. They are the largest order of arachnids, with more than 45,000 species worldwide. Most spider species are still awaiting identification. Spiders are abundent in Ontario.
All spiders are predators and most feed on insects, although a few large species prey on small vertebrate animals. Spiders play an important role in the environment by helping to keep insect populations in check.
Spiders are easily recognized by their 4 pairs of eight segmented legs, and 2 body areas (cephalothorax and abdomen). The cephalothorax and abdomen are separated by a visible waist or pedicel. The top of the cephalothorax is protected by a shield-like covering called the carapace. Spider do not have antennae or wings.
Most species have 8 simple eyes, though some have less and a few species have none. Often the number and arrangement of eyes are key in in identification.
Most spiders lay their eggs in silken egg sacs that are placed in the web, attached to leaves or twigs, or carried around by the spider until the eggs hatch.
Not all spiders spin webs. Some live in burrows, which they line with silk, while others have no retreat at all. All young spiders and some adult males release long silken strands, which they use like a parachute to ride the wind to other areas. This process is called ballooning.
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TYPES OF SPIDERS
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