Super Spider Facts
Here, RepugnANT, one of the “stars” of my children’s book ANTics, shares some info about spiders.
Hi guys, I’m not going to tell you my name because only other spiders can say it. The ants in The Crawly Kingdom where I live (let me rephrase that) – WHERE I RULE, call me RepugnANT. Why, I don’t know. Something weird to do with them all having names that describe their personalities and ending in ANT. So, I’m guessing RepugnANT means handsome or strong.
Anyway, enough already.
I’ve taken time out from my busy schedule of terrorising anything smaller than myself to tell you about spiders.
First off – we’re pretty awesome. Different spiders have different super powers. I, on the other hand, have them all.
Let me start by telling you that we belong to a group of animals called "arachnids". We are not insects. Spiders don’t have antennae while insects do. We have eight legs, insects have six.
People terrified of us guys suffer from ‘arachnophobia’. It's one of the most common fears in the world. I’ve heard about 10% of men and 50% of women have it.
Did you know that there’s a lot of us about:
* around 40,000 different species
* we are found on every continent of the world except Antarctica.
In case you didn’t know, we’re eco friendly:
* we help the environment keeping your home, garden, school and workplace free from pest insects.
And we’ve been around for a very, very, very long time:
* scientists have found spiders in amber dating back to about 2 million years.
Let me tell you how handsome we are:
We have two body parts:
* In the front part are our eyes, mouth fangs, stomach, brain and the glands that make the poison we use to paralyse our prey.
We have four sets of legs on the front section. These are covered with hairs which pick up vibrations and smells from the air. When we move, we always have four legs on the surface and four off the surface. At the end of the legs, we have, at least, two small claws. We also have 48 knees. No kidding! Eight legs with six joints on each.
* The second part of the body is called the abdomen and at the back end of the abdomen is where you’ll find our glands that make silk.
MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE
People are fascinated by our eyes and our silk, so let me tell you something about that.
* Spiders are near sighted, so can't see items that are far away.
* Most spiders have eight eyes - 4 sets of eyes. The pattern of how they are arranged depends on the species.
* Some spiders have two eyes while others have four or six.
* What we see through each of our eyes can be very different. Generally speaking, the eyes on the centre of the head and close to our face are used to detect the size, shape, and color of an object. Eyes further away from the centre of the face (along the side of the head) are used to detect motion.
AS SMOOTH AS SILK
Most spiders create silk because:
* we make webs and capture prey
* female spiders make silk to protect their eggs.
Abandoned spider webs are called cobwebs.
Our silk is said to be one of the strongest natural materials in the world:
* it's being used to make parachutes and bullet-proof vests.
* and in Papua New Guinea, people use our webs as fishing nets.
A question I get asked a lot is how come we don't get caught up in our own webs?
Well, that's simple – our bodies have oil on it to stop us from sticking to the silk. Clever stuff!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Now we're getting around to my favourite subject - FOOD. Spiders catch their food in different ways:
* Many spin webs
* Some stalk their prey, jump and ambush them.
* Others create a silk thread, which they dangle in the air, then climb down on, in order to jump on a tasty meal.
* And others jump. Jumping Spiders can jump up to 50 times their own length. They win loads of medals in the Spider Olympics.
FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD
Most spiders prey on other animals, especially insects and other spiders. The biggest among us have been known to kill mice, lizards and birds.
We bite our victims using poison injected through our fangs to subdue our prey before it has too much chance to fight back. Crafty, eh? Our fangs work like a pair of needles. Ouch! And one other thing - we can't chew, so we like to change our prey into a liquid.
Well, it’s been nice talking to you. You can learn more about me and my mission to catch those pesky ants in ANTics. Read a sample HERE: