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Spider Myths
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.

Shamrock spiders

No, you don't identify spiders by "markings." Color patterns are variable within same species, similar between different species.

Spider illustration

Are spiders insects? No, they're arachnids, as different from insects as birds are from fish!

Leucauge

Nearly all of the widespread assumptions and "general knowledge" about spiders is false!

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