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Arachnology
Eye arrangements diagram

To identify spiders, you can't just look at 10-12 pictures! There are 50,000 species to choose from, separated by picky microscopic details.

Tip of leg of orbweaving spider, showing claws.

The oft-repeated "spiders don't stick to their own webs thanks to oil on the feet" is wrong — the story is much more complicated.

Remains of rove beetle

Books say spiders don't eat solids but "suck the juices" of their prey. False! All spiders digest solids externally with vomited enzymes.

Cartoon by Owen Curtsinger showing a concerned commuter 3 feet from a spider

Despite "common knowledge," the nearest spider could be hundreds of meters away—or right under your feet. It depends!

Cartoon by Owen Curtsinger of spider taking it easy in the summer

In late summer when people notice garden orbweavers and giant house spiders, most native spiders are juvenile.

Illustration of dictyna sublata female and male.

It's easy to tell males from females, so please don't call all spiders "he" or "him."

Spider fangs

Spiders very rarely bite humans, but that isn't because their fangs are too small; most could bite if they tried.

Daddy long legs illustration

"Daddy-longlegs" means harvestman (not a spider), crane fly (an insect) or pholcid spider, depending on who's talking! So it's really meaningless.

Orb web

Orb (spiral) spider webs are neither the most common type nor the "normal" or standard type of web.

Crab spider, Misumena vatia

All spiders make silk but only about half make a web (silk structure to catch prey); others hunt or wait for prey.

Pseudoscorpion Illustration

All arachnids, not just spiders, have four pairs of legs.

Scorpion illustration

"Arachnid" doesn't just mean spider. The 11 arachnid orders include scorpions, ticks, etc.; spiders are just 1 order of class Arachnida.

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