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Spider Myths
Cartoon by Owen Curtsinger of a spider being ejected from a house.

If you put a house spider out in the yard, you aren't doing it any favor; it probably won't survive there.

graph of number of species living indoors or outside

Outdoor spiders are not drawn to indoor habitats where they can't survive. Indoor spiders are different species, called house spiders.

Leucauge

Your house (and any other house) contains 10-30 spider species, not just one!

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Why, oh why, do people think any unfamiliar spider must be "new to the area" and presumed dangerous?

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The spider you're trying to identify does not have to be one of the few species you've already heard of!

Pulverized spider remains

Spiders sent for ID in an envelope (even if padded) are likely to arrive powdered! Send it in a rigid container, preferably in alcohol.

Leucauge

Don't trust physicians and pest control operators to correctly identify a spider; only an arachnologist has the required training and skill.

Cybaeus reticulatus on yellow background

A picture that "looks just like" your spider does not identify it!

Spider on quarter

Please use inches or centimeters, not "silver dollars" or other coins, to describe the size of spiders!

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.

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