Spiders belong to the class Arachnida, more commonly known as arachnids. They share the class with other species including scorpions, harvestmen, ticks and mites.
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Spider are mistakenly called insects (class Insecta), however the main difference between the two class are that spiders have eight legs whilst insects have six legs. Both spiders and insects belong to the largest group of animals on Earth, the arthropods.
Another distinguishing feature of Arachnids are they have no antennae and no wings, with most being carnivorous, feeding on pre-digested bodies of insects or other small animals and birds. Some are parasites, whilst many are venomous, secreting poison from specialised glands.
As the largest order of arachnids, Spiders are found world-wide, except for Antarctica. As of July 2019, at least 48,200 spider species, and 120 families have been recorded by taxonomists.1 There is much discussion among the scientific community on the classification of families, genus and species.
As well as having eight legs, spiders also have chelicerae with fangs that generally are able to inject venom and spinnerets that extrude silk.
Whilst some spider species have venom that is dangerous to humans, there is much scientific research into the application of spider venom as medicine and in the use of non-polluting pesticides. There is also research into the spiders silk production and the application in the human world.
An irrational fear of spiders is known as arachnophobia.
- Scientific classification
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Chelicerata
- Class: Arachnida
- Order: Araneae
Footnote & References
- “Currently valid spider genera and species”. World Spider Catalog. Natural History Museum Bern. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
- Spider facts, Australian Museum, https://australian.museum/learn/animals/spiders/spider-facts/
- Spiders, Queensland Museum, https://www.qm.qld.gov.au/Explore/Find+out+about/Animals+of+Queensland/Spiders
- SpiderzRule, This site was first established by Glen from Australia in 1996. Now run by spider enthusiast Michael, the site has developed into one where people from all over the world emailed spider photos, https://www.spiderzrule.com/
- Steve’s Australian Spider Pics, http://spiders.zacharoo.com/