Spiders and Tarantulas
Lifecycle
Images
Female wolf spiders (Lycosa carolinensis Walckenaer)lay their eggs in a strong, ball-shaped bag made of silk. She carries the egg filled bag on her spinnerets (external anatomy diagram). When the eggs are ready to hatch, she cuts the bag open and the spiderlings creep out and crawl onto her back. She carries the itsy bitsy spiders with her for about a week. At that time they molt and are big enough to forage (find food) on their own.
The adult spiders live alone in silk- lined burrows or holes they have hollowed out in the ground, carrying the soil out a tiny bit at a time with their chelicera. Some of these tunnels can be three feet in depth!

This is a Tarantula, a large hairy spider. This one it about 6 inches across.


These are the chelicerae and fangs of a wolf spider.|

Diagram of Overall schematic of spider external anatomy

What's for Dinner?
Fact or Infotainment?
Spiders have tiny toothless mouths. When a spider catches a bug, like a cricket (Gryllus sp.), it bites it with its fangs injecting a paralyzing poison then wraps the bug into a bundle with silk. Then the spider injects digestive juices into the bug bundle and mashes the package with its chelicerae to mix well. Dinner is ready and the spider sucks up the predigested bug juices like you would suck up a juice box!
Wolf spiders do not spin a web, but rather wander around looking for food or sit and wait for dinner to come to them (sound familiar?)

Spider silk is stronger than the same weight of steel. That's not the big deal, though. Nylon is stronger than steel, too. The reason spider silk is so special is that it can stretch very far without breaking. That's the real secret of its strength.

Spiders can get caught in spiderwebs. You don't see it very often because they're careful with their feet. The tiny little tips of a spider's legs are oily. That keeps them from getting trapped on the sticky silk.

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