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Facts about spiders

Spiders are eight-legged arachnids that are best known for their ability to build nests. A common misconception is that spiders are insects but they are actually “arachnids” and, therefore, in their own category. Scorpions, ticks and mites are also arachnids yet people tend to group all of these creatures into the broad “bug” term. Spiders differ from insects since they have eight legs (most insects have six) and lack the antennae that most insects possess. Although spiders are generally flightless, they are expert climbers and can suspend themselves in mid-air via the sticky material they make for the webs that they weave. There are over 40,000 different species of spiders and most of them are carnivorous and use their sticky webs to trap other insects which they later eat. Spiders are instantly recognizable by people—and often extremely feared. Although many spiders are harmless some can be poisonous (even deadly, in rare cases) and this combined with their ability to scurry quickly has made them objects of fear among many people. However, they can also be kept as pets—especially tarantulas. Spiders are often associated with creepy imagery and so their depictions are frequently used in Halloween décor and horror films.

Spiders and their webs frequently appear as decorations. It's more common to see spider imagery than actual spiders!
Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
Spider imagery is often featured on Halloween decorations.
Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Below is a list of facts about spiders:

• Having an intense fear of spiders is called “arachnophobia.”

• Spiders are found on every single continent of the world except Antarctica.

• Most spiders hatch from eggs although some species do have live births.

• Abandoned spider webs are called “cobwebs.”

• The largest species of tarantula is called the “Goliath Birdeater.” These spiders can grow to be over 11 inches long and weigh 6 ounces.