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The Spider Myths Site
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General Fallacies

Myth: Spiders are insects.

Fact: Actually, not everyone believes this. Around half of my callers did learn in school that spiders are not insects, but I find it rather appalling that the percentage is not higher. And how often, in mass media, we read or hear a phrase like "spiders prey on other insects!" Anyway, spiders belong to the Class Arachnida, insects to the Class Insecta. Arachnids are as distant from insects, as birds are from fish. It really is not a trivial distinction!

One correspondent absolutely insisted that spiders are correctly called insects … because his dictionary said so! I'd call such faith touching but somewhat out of touch with reality.


B&W drawing of crab spider showing body parts
Spider

2 body parts

8 simple eyes


no antennae

no wings


4 pairs legs

abdomen unsegmented
Insect

3 body parts

2 compound eyes

2 antennae

4 wings (or 2 or none)

3 pairs legs

abdomen segmented
B&W drawing of wood wasp showing body parts
Tmarus angulatus, a crab spider Oryssus sayi, a parasitic wood wasp


Text © 2003-2008, 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 2 September, 2010

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