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Adult Resources About Spiders

By Dr. Linda S. Rayor Department of Entomology

Cornell University Ithaca, NY 14853 [email protected] Guide: Levi, H. & L. Levi 1996. A Golden Guide to Spiders & Their Kin. from St. Martin's Press. An excellent field guide to spiders for all ages, start with this one. $8

(ISBN 1-58238-156-9)

General Adult Books: Mason, Adrienne 1999. The Nature of Spiders: Consummate Killers. Sierra Club Book, S.F. Stunning photos, well informed text. This book seems to be hard to find, but is worth the effort. Sold under several similar names. Preston-Mafham, R. & K. 1996. The Natural History of Spiders. Crowood Press. The Preston-Mafham brothers produce spider and insect books on an almost yearly basis with superb photos and user friendly text. Any of their books on spiders and insects will be good introductions:

Spiders of the World The Encyclopedia of Land Invertebrate Behaviour Book of Spiders and Scorpions The Natural World of Bugs and Insects

Tarantula Care: Marshall, S.D. 1996. Tarantulas and other Arachnids: A complete pet owner's guide. Barron's, NY. Best book on tarantula care. At most pet stores. (~$8) Central Web Addresses: Arachnology home page. The very best user-friendly resource for spider information. It includes extensive information on all aspects of spider, scorpion, and other arachnids. A number of sites are for teachers or students. Click on `Web'. `A Romance with Spiders' by Linda Rayor. This is a free Cornell Cybertower online video introduction to spider biology and behavior. The appealing 1-hour video is broken into seven short (6 to 12-min) segments about different aspects of spider biology (arachnid diversity, molting, habitat use, predatory behavior, sexual proclivities, and my social spider research and outreach programs). Along with my lectures, there are exceptional sequences of spiders in action (see molting & prey capture!), along with many still images. Suitable for all ages. You need to use QuickTime (free) to view the videos on the web. Sign in to => => click on the Study Room `A romance with spiders'. Linda Rayor's Spider & Naturalist Outreach web page with resources for teachers, tarantula care, and spider projects. http// Wonderful Spider Video: Webs of Intrigue. National Geographic Video ($20). Accurate, funny, great photography, and

suitable for most ages.

*Resources updated Fall 2005

Important Aspects of Spider Biology

How do spiders differ from insects? Spiders - Two body parts, eight legs, chelicerae or fangs, pedipalps, no wings, no antennae. Insects - Three body parts, six legs, mandibles, wings, antennae. What traits are typical of spiders? Silk, pedipalps, venom, external digestion How long do spiders live? Most spiders live for 1 to 2 years, tarantulas and trapdoor spiders live for 6 to 20 years. In temperate regions, spiders overwinter as eggs or adults. What do spiders eat? All spiders are predators. Do not eat plants but only other living animals. Insects, spiders, invertebrates, some small vertebrates are the typical prey items. How do they eat? Venom to kill or paralyze prey from hole in fangs (chelicerae), external digestion with digestive enzymes acting outside of body to liquefy prey. How do they grow? Exoskeleton (external skeleton) must be shed or moulted. Moulting is necessary for growth, but a risky part of a spider's life. Where are spiders found? Everywhere but the ocean, and Antarctica. The 38,000 identified spider species are common everywhere else on earth. How does silk work? Silk is extremely strong but flexible. Webs are enlargements of the spider's sensory system. Webs slow down & entangle prey Orb webs are designed to capture prey with little silk, and translate the force of a flying insect throughout the web so they don't bounce out. How do spiders have sex? Carefully! Females will sometimes eat the male. Male's anatomy and courtship behavior adapted to surviving mating. Spiders have unique anatomy for internal fertilization. Are many spiders poisonous? No! Most are too small to bite through skin, venom not adapted to humans, too little venom, not in same place as humans. All bites have 2 fang marks. In US, only four groups are poisonous. Black widow, brown recluse, hobo, yellow sac spiders*. What are closely related to spiders? Spiders are arachnids. Other arachnids are scorpions, harvestmen, whip scorpions or vinegaroons, tailless whip scorpions, mites/ ticks, solfugids or `sun spiders', and pseudoscorpions. The closest relative of the arachnids are the horseshoe crabs. All have 8 legs and chelicerae.



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