THE SPIDER– truly AMAZING
Spiders are often thought or classed as insects but they are arthropods with eight hairy legs, a modified jaw (chelicerae) with fangs that inject venom for defense or digestive juice for feeding, 4 simple eyes and between 2 to 6 spinnerets for ejecting silk of different quality. Spiders have been found on every continent except Antarctica.
During my course of study on spiders, I discovered that almost everything about them is unique and amazing, some of which leaves my mouth agape, viz.
Spiders have 8 legs with which they use to crawl on the floor or climb walls or vertical structures. When they travel, they always have 4 legs on ground and the other 4 in air at any time interchangeably.
Spiders have their muscles in their exoskeleton. The muscle pulls the leg inward but cannot extend it out again. A watery liquid has to be pumped through the leg to extend it again. This is why a dead spider legs end up curled up since there is no control of fluid to push them out again
Most spiders feed on insects with the aid of their fangs and the silk released from their spinnerets, though some are herbivorous.
Not all spiders spin webs (the air borne homes known as cobweb) but all spiders produce silk.
Some catch their prey by catching or trapping them in sticky webs, lasso them with sticky bolas (like fishing), or even hunt them down. Some large spiders are big enough to chase down preys and kill them with venom.
These types mostly feed on small mice, snakes, frogs, lizards. Some of them live socially and may even make web big and strong enough to catch birds.
Spiders feed on their prey by filling them with digestive juices to liquidize their tissues since they do not have the means of chewing or swallowing them.
Some may even spin web around their prey and enclose them like a package before injecting the digestive juice into them. After the action of the digestive juice, they then suck out and ingest the fluid leaving the remnants unattended to. They possess two rows of filters to separate the solids from the fluid while sucking the fluid.
The silk produced by a spider is liquid initially but becomes solid immediately it comes into contact with air. It is known to be the strongest form of natural fiber made of strong strands of protein. It was experimented that a strand of silk made by a spider is about 5 times stronger than that of a strand of steel.
The silk is used in making webs, catching preys, gliding, making of homes in holes dug underground, wrappers for sperm.
The male are much smaller to the female. Most species are solitary and it is the male task to look for a sexually receptive female of the same species. The female may produce pheromones which can be seen sensed and recognized by a male with the chemical sensors on their front legs.
Some species may stake out developing immature female spiders so that they may be first to mate her after are final molt. Sometimes, the male fight it out to choose who will mate the female. But if there is just one male present, his first task is to destroy the chemical signal (pheromone) sent by the female to avoid the presence or intruding of another male. The successful male then has to signal to the female for her to recognize his presence and intention. Some may dance as a sign of courtship. Once the female recognizes the male, she position herself or makes it clear that the male is not wanted by crawling away or shaking her web.
Spiders do not mate by making contact with their genitals. The male make a little web in which he drops his sperm and uses his pedipalp to suck it up and injects it into the female genital.
The female stores the sperm in a sac until she is ready to lay her eggs. She then uses the sperm to fertilize them. The female may lay hundreds to thousands of egg at a time.
There is this act of cannibalism in which the female devours the male after mating. Some may even devour the male before mating. Sometimes, the male may force himself into the female jaws so that she can feed on him while some may run away for their dear lives after mating.
• Like I said earlier all spiders bite and have venom but only few of them have been proven to be dangerous and life threatening when they bite humans mostly as a defense not as an attack.
And most fascinatingly, the amazingness of the spider has caused man to apply it features in technology such as in :
• 3D printing
image source – pixabay.com
I’m a Microbiology undergraduate at the University and I’m fascinated with learning amazing stuff about life everyday.
Steemit is rekindling my love for research and writing and I will be sharing with you amazing stuff I discover everyday at school and over the course of my search for knowledge.
Unfortunately, I lost the key to my former login @acondor ---