Spiders are insects: true or false?
It is probably among the top 3 phobias of humans, alongside the snake and the shark, although the comparison is rather excessive. It enters the houses, weaves its web generally out of sight, and delights in every little insect that will have the misfortune to come and walk there. Is she part of this same family? We answer you.
Which family does the spider belong to?
At the risk of disappointing bad bettors: No, the spider is not an insect. Insects, which belong to the families of mandibulates or antennates, have a body divided into three parts and carry “only” three pairs of legs. The spider, on the other hand, has a body divided into two parts and carries four pairs of legs.
It is part of the family of arachnids
among which there are also scorpions and mites. This family, belonging to the group of terrestrial chelicerates, has more than 50,000 species listed throughout the world. This colossal number mainly includes spiders, also called araneids, with around 35,000 different species. It should also be noted that the harvestmen, which are commonly called “faucets”, if they are indeed part of the family of arachnids, are not spiders. Before closing this parenthesis, know that it takes its nickname from its legs in the shape of a scythe, which is a manual agricultural tool that allows you to mow grass and cereals during harvest, and it is indeed at this time of the harvest that the harvestman appears in the fields.
Morphology, lifestyle: presentation of the spider
The spider has a cephalothorax at the front, which includes the head and thorax, and a flexible, unsegmented abdomen at the back. The cephalothorax carries its chelicerae, which are the two small hooks located in front of its mouth, which play an important role in capturing and holding prey. The cephalothorax also carries the 4 pairs of locomotor or ambulatory legs, and its 4 pairs of eyes, even if certain species of spiders have fewer. Each pair of eyes has a specific function. And despite everything, the spider sees badly.
It is a rather nocturnal animal, quickly blinded by the ambient light, hence its immobility is sometimes observed. It has very fine bristles, called sensory, over the entire surface of its body. Thus, without seeing clearly, it can feel movements, vibrations, or even substances, which allows it to claim a rather fine and developed perception of its environment to better apprehend its prey.
How do spiders eat?
We all have the image of the spider weaving its web, and peacefully waiting for an insect to come and be captured. Without contradicting this process which is true, it should however be specified that, if all the spiders are able to weave silk thanks to the glands of manufacture, few of them are able to make a web. Indeed, the majority of spiders hunt prey on the lookout or on the run, throwing a web net on an insect. Also, the majority of them keep a silk thread on one leg to avoid falling and facilitate air transport.
Once the prey is subdued, the spider cannot eat it “as is”. Indeed, it has no teeth, which makes chewing impossible. What can you do if you can’t chew? We can drink. It will therefore liquefy the inside of its prey by injecting juices into it. It is a rather strange phenomenon. The prey will then be digested even before being eaten since it will be reduced little by little to the state of porridge to then be sucked up.
Is the spider a pest?
Let’s be honest, many of us consider it a pest. However, it is rather difficult for us to explain the cause, apart from a form of preconceived phobia, transmitted from generation to generation, at the mere sight of our parents frightened by this little arachnid. A few dramatic and oppressive films have been involved, always presenting the spider as the ultimate predator, which very often earns us a few instructions from grandpa or grandma on the danger of being bitten (and the disappointment of children when they understand that it is unlikely that they will transform into Spider-man overnight). We first suggest that you put an end to all these rumors about the spider. NO, the spider does not bite. Apart from a few rare species mainly concentrated in Australia and South America, the majority of spiders, and all of the species present in Europe, do not bite. For example, the tarantula lives in southern Italy. Contrary to many popular beliefs, although impressive, it is completely harmless.
In reality, there is only one exception in Europe, which is the malmignatte, the cousin of the drowned widow. Its venom is toxic to the nervous system and can be life-threatening. But rest assured, the house spider, called a teenager, is perfectly harmless; NO, the spider is not a predator for humans. She will never attack him, and will possibly only have a defensive reflex. The man presents a threat to the spider, and she is afraid of him. That is why she runs to hide when she senses our threatening presence, or when she stops moving; NO, we do not eat spiders while we sleep. That the launcher of rumor denounces, the study which would certify that one swallow on average 8 spiders per year during our sleep is only a fake! This is absolutely false, for two reasons. The first is that the spider does not consider us as prey. Even the biggest and most dangerous spiders only bite if they feel in danger. They prefer not to approach us, so they will certainly not come running over us while we sleep. The second is that a real study shows that a spider on our face would certainly wake us up.