The most common reaction that one gets at the mention of spiders is the sudden discomfort or distress. We get it: spiders don’t seem to be really friendly creatures. They are, in fact, what nightmares are made of. These eight-legged arthropods are creepy and hideous, and just a sight of them can make anyone’s skin crawl.
While spiders are common household pests today, it is interesting to ponder over how they evolved over time. It is believed that spiders evolved about 400 million years ago, and it is also unanimously believed that they emerge from ancestors that resemble the anatomy of crabs.
Different kinds of spiders create different webs. Some spiders also produce venom which is considered as a fundamental part of their evolution process. It allows them to have easy access to food and provide shelter for themselves. The evolution of spiders has also enabled them to be smaller in size and be able to survive in diverse regions. Their ability to produce silk for making webs is a unique characteristic that has benefitted them greatly. While creating web is a common feature that we associate with spiders, not all spiders create webs. Some spiders make webs to capture prey, while others don’t. Hence, different species of spiders function differently, depending on their exclusive characteristics.
To give you a thorough insight into various types of spiders and their unique innate features, we have composed this blog post for you. Here we discuss all the popular types of spiders and what makes all these diverse species different from one another.
Table of Contents
Anatomy of a Spider
Types of Spiders
Also known as the Violin Spider, the brown recluse spider is famous for its appearance similar to a violin. While it is common for spiders to have eight sets of eyes, this type of spider only possesses six sets of eyes. As the name suggests, these spiders boast a brown color but you may also find them in shades like cream, gray, and black.
Studies show that the varying locations of these one-inch long spiders may have an impact on their coloration which is why it is not so surprising to see them in colors other than brown. One of the most notable characteristics of the Violin spider is their ability to camouflage which helps them hide from their predators.
These hairy spiders are commonly found in places where human beings don’t visit on a daily basis or haven’t touched or changed things in there. These areas include attics, storage areas, backyard, and shed. Hence, their natural habitat can be your homes.
The brown recluse spider builds its own web to catch prey. They usually catch nasty pests like cockroaches and crickets for their everyday meals. You may not know this, but these spiders can be dangerous to humans as they may bite them if they feel threatened. They inject their venom into humans and can be belligerent.
Having the scientific name – Parasteatoda tepidariorum, American house spiders are locally termed as the common house spider. This spider specie belongs to the genus Parasteatoda which is indigenous to the New World. You can typically encounter them in regions like North America, Pakistan, and Myanmar. The best way to spot the American house spider is by judging their abdomen which is round and their coloration typically dull brown with tiny spots on its body and legs. The average body size of this type of spiders is a quarter inch (6mm). It is believed that these species can live for years after they mature.
Did you know that a single egg of the American house spider can contain more than 400 eggs?
Belonging to cobweb spiders, American house spiders build their webs in places such as closets, cabinets, crawl areas, and basements. Unlike brown recluse spiders, common house spiders are absolutely harmless. However, wherever they reside, they tend to make the space messy with their cobwebs.
When it comes to big spiders, the first type that comes into mind instantly is the tarantula. Owing to their big size and hairy body, these spiders are also known as the “Baboon Spider” in several landmarks such as Africa. It is easy to get scared of the Tarantula as their large size can prove to be intimidating to many people. It is believed that the female Tarantula can grow up to 12 inches in length while the males can be as big as 8 inches only. The Tarantula can be found in colors like brown and gray with dark black lines on their legs. Due to their unique size and shape, several people consider getting tarantulas as their pet spider. However, one must be fully aware of the conditions and tactics to safely house and look after tarantulas.
It may seem surprising, but this type of spider doesn’t spend time in creating webs to capture their prey. In fact, these species of spiders don’t even know how to create silk for themselves. This is also one of the reasons why people prefer them as pets for their lack of web-making skills helps keep the house clean.
The tarantula also happens to be a timid and harmless creature. That being said, they can show signs of hostility. This only happens when these spiders feel backed down or cornered by human beings. They can also display aggressive behavior when they see other male Tarantulas mating with their females. When angry, the tarantula will hiss or put their legs high up in the air.
The Goliath bird-eater is a type of spider that hails from the Tarantula family. Owing to its big legs (more than 12 inches in size), it is known as the second-largest spider in the world. This spider species was named soon after it was seen feeding on a hummingbird one day. Since then, it is known as the “bird-eater” spider.
The native land of the Goliath bird-eater is the rainforests of South America. They dig burrows for themselves where they live and capture their prey. These spiders tend to have a fighting streak as they can be aggressive with other spiders in matters of claiming their territory and ownership. These species make hissing voices by rubbing their legs together when they feel threatened by other spiders. At that point, it is ideal to stay away from them or else get ready to be bitten by their venom and suffer in pain.
If you have ever heard of someone saying names like the Wind Scorpion or the Sun Spider, then it clearly means that they are referring to none other than the camel spider. Researchers debate over whether these creatures are really spiders or scorpions, considering they display some characteristics common in scorpions. As compared to other types of spiders, these reptiles are longer in size; generally, they can grow up to 3 to 6 inches long. These big-eyed creatures can be seen in a wide range of colors from tan to light brown to darkish hues. Ironically, male camel spiders are smaller in size as compared to their female counterparts. They are so small, in fact, that many people mistake them for baby spiders.
Camel spiders prefer to hide in their surroundings, which is why they are commonly spotted in darker areas like a shed or basement. They may also be seen under the rocks, wooden boards, clothing piles – basically any spot that is dark and allows them to hide without getting caught. The stand-out feature of camel spiders is that they run like the speed of light, having the ability to run 10 miles an hour.
Camel spiders feed on insects (both alive and dead) and can also store fat in their body which helps them sustain during times when they don’t have enough food for their intake. Some of the insects that camel spiders consume include rodents, lizards, termites, and beetles.
Wolf spiders are a muscular and fast-moving species with a face resembling a wolf (hence the name – wolf spider) and eight eyes that vary in their sizes and shapes. The coloration and the body size of the wolf spider vary depending on the area they are living in. For example, in some regions, wolf spiders are 1 inch long, while they may be half that size in other regions. While these spiders live in many different areas, they are commonly found in North Carolina. They are spotted residing around coastal areas, suburban areas, grassy fields, and pastures.
Wolf spiders are capable of digging burrows which they spend most of their time doing. They also put trap doors all around their burrows to capture their prey. This shows that these creatures are smart and intelligent. They also put small stones on their burrows to avoid unnecessary intervention. It is not easy to find these spiders since they are good at hiding under rocks and woods. While they thrive best in a harsh climate, they turn to homes and basements as the temperature starts to drop.
Given that they have a flexible abdomen, wolf spiders eat like a wolf! Their basic food includes crickets and flies.
Fun fact: The male wolf spiders are drawn to the female ones due to their fragrance. However, they approach them with love and caution as the females can turn hostile and make them leave. The males usually soothe angry females by dancing.
The black widow spider is notorious for being the most dangerous spider in the world. That’s because it has humongous venom glands that can ignite pain, especially if you are bitten by the female black widow spider. It is quite easy to identify female black widow spiders as they boost an intense dark body with tiny red spots on them. The males usually exhibit a yellow or white-colored body. Besides having a different coloration, the male black widow spider also comes about half the size of their female counterpart. If you ever spot a spider displaying a hot red shade, beware and move toward the opposite direction. Coming near to the spider at that time can prove to be very harmful to you.
Generally, these spiders live in the warmer areas of the United States, Mexico, and Canada as they prefer hot regions. As the weather turns cold, these venomous spiders find shelter and go into hiding. Like typical spiders, they kill their prey through webs. They wait for roaches, insects, and beetles to come near their web and hang in an upside position and instill venom in them.
Like the black widow spider, the hobo spider is considered to be hostile and dangerous. Unlike other species of spiders, they don’t come in a variety of colors. In fact, they have brown shade with black spots on their bodies. Their central region of the abdomen contains “V” marks and two striking spinnerets that pop out of their abdominal.
Europe is the home of Hobo spiders, but with time, these creatures have moved to many other new localities. In the 1930s, the United States started spotting hobo spiders, especially in Seattle. It is believed that an agricultural shipment, containing several Hobo eggs, resulted in the spread of the spider in the United States.
The hobo spider is very hard to encounter, considering it is an excellent hider. It usually hides when the season becomes warm – this is also the time when it may be found inside your houses. These spiders are also popular for making a special type of web – a funnel kind. They usually feed on creatures like silverfish, flies, beetles, and cockroaches. One of the bad traits of hobo spiders is that they have a poor vision which is why they can’t climb properly and hence prefer to live and eat on the ground.
The golden silk spider, also known as the giant wood spider and the banana spider, builds a web that is golden in color. This hallmark is exactly why this spider species is called “the golden silk spider”. The golden-hued silk makes the spider’s web more attractive than any other spiders’ web. However, the color is not the only striking feature of the webs. These webs are always created in a special zig-zag style.
The giant wood spider appears in several kinds of colors such as red, green, yellow, black, or brown. It also consists of white spots on both its abdomen and legs. The female banana spider usually grows up to 2 inches in size while the males are only able to grow up to an inch. However, their overall size largely relies on their habitat.
The banana spider can be spotted all around the world, especially in areas that experience warmer climatic conditions. Some of the common locations to encounter the golden silk spider are Madagascar, Australia, USA (Texas and North Carolina).
Like hobo spiders, golden silk spiders are unable to see properly which is why they depend on their senses most of the time. Through vibrations, they can detect danger and can run or jump to defend themselves. These spiders prefer small or medium-sized creatures to feed on. Their favorite food sources include flies, moths, grasshoppers, butterflies, mosquitoes, and tiny snakes. While these spiders are venomous in nature, they hardly bite human beings. Their bite may lead to pain or blisters but it would hardly get to the point where you will have to see the doctor.
You will be astounded to find out that there are about 5,000 species of the jumping spider. It is estimated that there is approx. 13% of jumping spiders out of all the spider species in this world. The most distinctive feature of the jumping spider is their four large eyes that are lined in a single row. Three of these eyes help them see and hence these species of spiders are popular for having good eyesight. Like an insect, these four-eyed spiders have lungs along with a tracheal system. Both of these body parts support their respiratory system.
As the name suggests, the jumping spider has the ability to jump higher. They are known to jump with the help of their silk. They also jump around from one place to another during the daytime in search of food which includes bugs and several insects. The jumping spider is found in forests, woodlands, grasslands, and mountainous areas. However, in order to survive in these areas successfully, these spiders require proper food and shelter.
Often mistaken for the black widow spider, the red-black spider has slim legs, dark, rounded body with red spots on them. Since these physical features are common in black widow spider, the red-black spider is often identified wrong. Like many other spider species, the females are larger than the males with orangey stripes on their big, round body.
Red-back spiders are native to Australia and are regarded as one of the most dangerous spiders out there. They like to live close to humans, which mean that you may find them in places like basements, sheds, or in the backyard. The webs of these spiders are clammy and messy and if you spot such webs in your home, you know what’s residing in your house.
The Brazilian wandering spider is claimed to be the deadliest spider in the world. The leg length of this spider can reach up to 6 inches, with 2 inches wide around their abdomen. These spiders like to wander in jungles, especially in the dark, damp areas of the woods. Their most common habitats include the forests in Peru, Columbia, Costa Rica, Paraguay, and Brazil.
One of the popular hiding places of Brazilian wandering spiders is bananas. So one of the common ways they spread and have spread in other parts of the world is by hiding in the crates of bananas meant to be exported. When held captive, the Brazilian wandering spider can expose their vehement side. Their dark side is also revealed when they fight others over their territory and mate.
While it is understandable why one may be afraid of spiders, but one thing, we got to say, they are, indeed, quite interesting species!