(Contenido disponible en Español está marcado abajo)
Today, we’re taking a closer look at spiders. Some people think they’re scary, but they’re actually helpful! Not only are most of them harmless to people, they’re actually very beneficial. They eat lots of insects that damage crops, and they also eat insects that can carry disease. Let’s explore them some more!
What is a spider?
Although people often think of spiders as insects, they’re actually arachnids! Arachnids have eight legs and only two body segments. Insects have six legs and three body segments. That means that spiders and scorpions are more closely related than spiders and cockroaches!
Teaching Tip: Let’s learn more about spiders! Check out this great book, “What’s it Like to be a Spider?” from the Internet Archive.
Spiders spin silk?
How do spiders trap their food? With webs! But what is that web made of? Believe it or not, spiders spin their own silk! This silk is strong enough to capture and hold prey for the spiders (it’s even stronger than steel wire)! That same silk helps young spiders (spiderlings) float to new plants to start a web of their own! Want to learn more about baby spiders? Check out this book, “Are You a Spider?”
The Very Busy Spider
Marjorie is reading this Eric Carle favorite for today’s Story Time! Click here for the video.
Teaching Tip: Explore what you’ve learned about spiders with this printable word search handout!
Are wolf spiders good parents?
(Disponible en español)
Did you know that mother wolf spiders carry their spiderlings around on their backs until they’re fully developed? Learn more about how wolf spiders care for their young by checking out this handout from our educators.
Teaching Tip: Use the handout’s guiding questions to inspire further questions with your scientist! What else do they notice? What do they wonder?
What spiders can you find?
Can you spot the spider in this photo? It’s a flower crab spider! These special spiders resemble flowers to help them catch their prey. What other spiders have you encountered in your neighborhood? Investigate spiders in and around your home and contribute to community science! Check out the Arthropods of Our Home Project and add your photos to the iNaturalist project Never Home Alone: The Wild Life of Homes.
Behind the Scenes
Did you know that some spiders are semiaquatic? This is a fishing spider, spotted by Dr. Allison during fieldwork. They live near streams and ponds. Their legs are covered with water-repellent hairs. Those hairs are what help keep them afloat! Click here to see the full video.