Spiders get a bad rap, but thanks to the web, we can easily learn why they’re such an important part of our local ecosystems. So, don’t let spiders bug you… embrace them! Here are 10 cool facts about spiders to help you celebrate Halloween:
1. Spiders aren’t insects. They have eight legs, two main body parts (abdomen and cephalothorax), no antennae and no wings. While insects have six legs, three main body parts (head, thorax and abdomen), two antennae, and most species have wings during some part of their life cycle.
2. The earliest spider fossils date back 300 million years – that’s before the dinosaurs!
3. There are more than 800 spider species in Ontario.
4. All spiders can produce silk but not all spiders use silk to spin webs. Silk is used for a variety of reasons: constructing webs, lining burrows, encasing egg sacs and making safety lines to prevent spiders from falling.
5. The most common household spider in Ontario is the common house spider, Parasteatoda tepidariorum, which is responsible for most of the cobwebs found in buildings. House spiders’ feet have tiny hairs that help them grip walls.
6. Dock spiders are the largest native spider species in Canada. They can have up to an 8 cm leg span.
7. Spiders lead solitary lives and prey on other bugs. They enjoy eating black flies, caterpillars and various insects. If we imagine one hectare of land, it’s estimated that the spiders in that area can eat up to 200 kg of insects each year!
8. Most spiders in the wild live for one to three years. The oldest known spider was an Australian trapdoor spider, that lived to the age of 43.
9. Spiders can have up to eight eyes. With so many eyes, it’s surprising that most spiders are near-sighted.
10. Jumping spiders are small and fuzzy, with two big forward-facing eyes. Many people find them endearing to watch as they bounce around and look for prey.
If you see a spider in your home – leave it! If you really can’t stand the thought of having it as a roommate, gently capture it in a cup and release it outside. You can also help spiders by planting a variety of native flowers and shrubs in your garden and avoid using pesticides.
By CVC’s Kimberley Holt, Associate, Marketing and Communications