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The Many Uses of the Spider Web

Spiders are one of the most flexible creatures ever to lurk in this planet. They can live anywhere, depending on their specie. They can be seen in the highest mountains or in the lowest shorelines. They can live in trees, in grasses, in mounds, in houses; pretty much everywhere really. Wherever there is water, soil, leaves or any kind of plant growth, spiders will be there. Overall, there are over 2500 species of Spiders found in US alone.

Spiders belong to the animal group called the arthropods, but they are not of the same classes. Spiders are not insects, they are classified as arachnids. Insects and arachnids differ in many ways. Anatomically speaking, the body of a spider in composed of two segments only while insects have three. Arachnids also have eight legs as compared to insects with six. All arachnids also have at least two pairs of simple eyes (some have four). Most significantly, spiders do not have wings and antennae which is the main determining physical characteristic of an insect. If we are to look for other animals which can be closely related to spiders, insects will not make it in the top list. Topping the list would be the ticks, scorpions and the mites.

One thing that really makes an arachnid a spider is the ability to produce and use webbings. Webbings are excreted by a special gland found somewhere at the tips of the spider's abdomen. The webbing leaves the gland in liquid form but it hardens as it is exposed to the air. The webbings, which can be closely related to the silk produced by silk worms, are used by spiders in many different ways. They use webbings to protect their eggs, to catch food, to defend themselves, to build their houses and to easily move around (just see how Spiderman does that).

1. Egg protection

Just like the Kangaroo, spiders carry their young around with them. But instead of putting their offspring in a pouch, spiders put them in a sac made of webbings and stick the sac on their abdomen. However, most spider species do not carry the sac around. For increased mobility in searching for food, spiders would rather stick the sac somewhere very secluded. These eggs will not be easily spotted by insects and other creatures that would probably feed on them because the webbing will be sufficient to support them even when stuck on the underside of a wooden junction. Upon hatching, the spiderlings (which look pretty much the same with the adult spider, only smaller) will tear open the webbing after a series of molts.

2. Food catching

Spiders use their webbings to weave traps and catch small insects for food. Since insects are very much attracted to light, spiders usually make their traps close to a light source. Insects that fall on such traps usually end up being eaten or "wrapped" for future use. If we do not include size in the equation, it can be said that spiders outnumbered all predators combined when it comes to population in a given hunting area.

3. Defense

Spiders can kill using their webs too. They can fire their webbings at high velocity are hit their target which is inches away. The webbing will immobilize the enemy or worse, it can obstruct their breathing and kill them because of suffocation. Either way, the spider can get its kill.

4. House-building

Spider webs are quite common in places where external disturbance in least. In such cases, spiders can build larger and vaster houses through their webbings. In places where there are activities that can constraint spiders from building obvious houses, they can build less conspicuous webs. These webs are so translucent that they are very difficult to notice if sunlight and dust are not around to help the detection.

5. Mobility

You might have not seen a spider in action just yet, but if you have seen how Spiderman uses his web to move around then you should have gotten the idea already. Many spiders do not rely on traps to catch their preys; some just can't live off without the adventure. Hunting spiders make use of their webbings to increase their mobility and catch their preys. They can jump from one high place to another and end up unscratched because of the help of their webbings. Even the non-hunting species make use of their webbing for mobility too. Through their webbings, they do not have to walk on the ground where predators are too many to evade. Thus, spiders make use of their webbings to escape from predators.

The Spider and the Man

Although we hardly feel it, humans are greatly benefitted by the existence of spiders. They feed on so many insects, worms and even on smaller spiders which could have otherwise been pests to humans. It is also worth noting that spiders do not interfere much with human activities, in fact, they dislike human interaction and would run away once they spot humans. Spider bites are also very rare and in almost every instance, the bite only happened after the spiders are provoked. Spider bites are not even lethal, even those made by poisonous spiders like the black widow, spruce, etch. The Tarantula is another story because they do not even live in places where humans inhabit. Thus, cases that involved the Tarantula can be excluded in the general house pest spider statistics.

It can be safely said that the dangers usually associated to spiders are mostly exaggerated. Many of those who think that spider elimination is necessary just have spider phobias or inexplicable fear to spiders. Records show that spiders are able to kill two humans every decade. Moreover, spiders do not infest houses in larger populations too. So, it is really quite impossible for spiders to make any significant damage to the house or to the health of the people living in the house. However, if the homeowner is really afraid of spiders, there are easy to follow spider removal tips which he or she can follow without any problem.
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