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The Spider Myths Site
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"I honestly believe it is better to know nothing than to know what ain't so."
   - Josh Billings, 1818-1885 (in "Solemn Thoughts")
"Everything that 'everybody knows' about spiders...is wrong!"
   - Rod Crawford


Myths, Misconceptions, and Superstitions About Spiders

Rod Crawford, Curator of Arachnids, Burke Museum

As the only spider specialist in a large metropolitan area, I get many spider inquiries from the general public. Since I'm mentioned on the Internet as a spider specialist, some of the public inquiries come from distant places. When I lecture on spiders, adult and child audiences always have questions and comments. So do casual acquaintances when they learn that I work with spiders.

These people's concerns come from a widespread and surprisingly uniform set of assumptions and "general knowledge" about spiders. And almost all of this widespread information about spiders is false!

I don't really expect that this document, by itself, will make much headway against the flood of spider misinformation. However, I hope that those curious about spiders who find their way here will absorb enough information to ask me some new questions instead of the same old ones. I can hope, can't I? green spider, Leucauge venusta

To suggest improvements or additions to this document, or learn about information sources, contact the author, Rod's email address. But if you hope to show that any of the following myths is actually true, please be prepared with verifiable evidence including actual specimens …

Opinions expressed here are not necessarily endorsed by the Burke Museum or the University of Washington, but are entirely my own, founded on 39 years experience working with spiders and misinformed humans. Note also that I use "myth" here as a convenient catchall term for any kind of widely believed misinformation about spiders.

Notice to international readers:
The myths dealt with in this document are mainly North American. Some of the spider myths of other continents may differ. Older myths and legends not widely believed by present-day people are omitted: examples would be the Greek myth of Arachne or the West African stories of Anansi.

Myths are listed below by category.
Every one of the statements below is false!
Click each one to find out why.

General Fallacies

Myths about Identifying Spiders

House Spider Myths

Just Plain Weird Stories

Myths about "Dangerous" Spiders

Let us repeat...
Every one of the above statements is false!
Click each one to find out why.

Text © 2003-2010, Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture,
University of Washington, Box 353010, Seattle, WA 98195, USA
Phone: 206-543-5590
Photos © as credited
Queries to Spider Myths author, Rod Crawford

This page last updated 1 February, 2013

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