Across the world, there are about 40,000 different species of spiders. North America is home to about 4,000…. many of these are found in Nebraska. Although many people are startled, scared, or, afraid of spiders, they are fascinating creatures!
All spiders share some similar characteristics: All spiders have 8 legs. All spiders have two body parts – the cephalothorax (front) and the abdomen (butt or rear). All spiders have eyes – the exact number of eyes depends on the species of spider, but most have eight eyes. And, actually, most spiders to not see very well. Instead, they use vibrations to know what is going on around them.
All spiders make silk even if they do not spin a web. They use this silk to have a quick escape route or to find their way back to their home. Young spiders will use long strands of silk to travel through the wind to new homes. And, of course, some spiders use their silk to spin webs – only about half of all know spider species actually spin a web.
Although most spider species do have venom to kill their prey (usually insects), nearly all spider species in Nebraska are harmless to humans. Take time to look at spiders when you see them… they are fascinating, beautiful, and an integral part of the ecosystem.
For more fun, try this fun activity (just in time for Halloween!):
Place a piece of construction paper in a box lid. Dip a marble or small ball in a contrasting color of paint and put it in the box. Now, roll the ball all around by tilting the lid. Re-dip the marble in paint and repeat many time to create an amazing spider web!