The Truth About Spider Venom and Webs

September 12, 2016By

Spiders are one of the most diverse organisms in the whole world—over 45,000 species exist.

When people think of spiders, they definitely aren’t thinking about species diversity.

People associate spiders with two things: fear and webs.

The Truth About Dangerous Spiders

Spiders are air-breathing eight-legged arthropods. They have fangs that inject (sometimes deadly) venom. Some people are terrified of spiders. Others aren’t bothered. Regardless, it’s important to know that only 12 spiders can cause serious harm to humans.

The only time spiders actually bite is when they’re startled or surprised. What this means is that if you know what types of spiders are harmful and then stay away from them, you don’t have to worry about being bitten. Make note that many of the world’s most dangerous spiders don’t exist in North America.

In Louisiana, the most dangerous spider is the black widow—characterized by its jet black body and a red stripe down its back.

The Truth About Spider Webs

Spiders spin webs by using a single silk thread as the foundation of a much larger structure. This thread is used to “bridge” two structures—usually tree branches, walls, or doors. When making the bridge, a spider will crawl to a high point and then release the thread. The wind blows the thread until it reaches an adjacent structure. Once attached, the spider ties the thread to the starting point and then continues to add threads until a complete web is formed.

The truth about webs is that not all spiders spin them. But, the reason is a bit more complicated than most think……

What is a Spider Web?

Technically, spider webs are silk structures that are created for hunting purposes. Under this definition, not all spiders spin webs. Here are a few useful ways spiders use webs for survival:

Silk Structures for Protection

Most people don’t know it, but spiders have predators—mainly lizards. Exposed spiders can easily be eaten by a predatory lizard. Sheltered spiders have a much greater chance of survival. In addition, sheltered spiders have the advantage of being able to live where they want. Scientific studies have shown that sheltered spiders are able to live in the same areas as predatory lizards.

Silk Structures for Mating Purposes

Silk structures play an important role in spider reproduction. A male spider creates a small silk structure that’s used for the sole purpose of sperm collection. He will deposit sperm in the web and wait until courtship begins. This ensures that reproduction can occur at any and all times—a reproductive advantage only found in a few organisms.

Silk Structures for Emergencies

Spiders will leave a string of silk behind them as they walk. This is known as a dragline. It’s used as an emergency line in case the spider falls. In addition, it acts as an easy way for spiders to avoid predators that successfully sneak up on them.

Draglines play an important role in keeping spiders safe and protected. They’re used more often than people think, but go unrecognized because they aren’t as elaborate and noticeable as larger silk structures.

Now you know the truth about spider venom and webs:

There are only 12 spiders that can cause serious damage to humans. If you know how to identify and stay away from them, your chances of being bitten are slim to none. The web is defined as a silk structure created for hunting purposes. Not all spiders spin them. Silk structures are created for protection, mating purposes, and emergencies.

Nobody should live in fear, so if you need assistance with spider control, contact us today!

Filed in: Spider Control