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A Victory Story About Spider Fear II

(This is part II of the guest post sent to me by Christian C. - read part I here)

So I went on living in a world full of fear over some creatures that are barely the size of my thumb (except for those species that are particularly larger though). I was somehow living in an incarcerated existence; full and hesitation in every move. I couldn't act or move around the way normal people would do. I was too afraid that I might end up encountering a spider along the way in any of the moves that I make. Too afraid to go to places in the fear that a spider might just be lurking in the dark corners of that place, it was a bit milder of hell-like life, however, nevertheless it was still bad living that way. I felt that I really had to do something to change things the way they were. Spiders are small creatures and are even apparently harmless according to many researches and scientific ratifications and therefore I should feel the way I do about them. I felt that I have to conquer this fear for them and find a way to surface from the drowning feeling of being imprisoned by intimidation. I can't live the difficult life anymore. One day I went out to find a way on how to deal with this long running fear for the creatures. I went to a nearby therapist.

The therapist that I went to was recommended by a friend in the office. That friend somehow noticed me so inhibited by my disorder and I couldn't be as productive as I should be. So I went to the therapist upon my office mate's advice. I felt awkward at first, entering the office of the therapist as I don't know where to begin in telling my tale or probably I felt ashamed that time telling him about my fear. I felt that the fear I had was just nothing else but a joke that could be personally dealt with. But it wasn't long until that I recollected myself and accepted that I do need some help and it has got to be with therapist that I will find one soon enough. A good kind of help I thought, considering his professional statute. I had a feeling that I was in the right place. I just hoped that I wouldn't end up getting disappointed to find out that the entire thing was a total sham.

I told the therapist everything that I've been through. Starting from how it all started and the progressive manifestation that have eventually developed me into fearing spiders. I even went into the process of introspection and regression, in order to fully remember the precise details and to assess which incident or situation that triggered me into fearing the creatures. It lead me into telling the real score of that incident when I watched the movie and the spider that fell off on my face. It didn't take much for the therapist to know the real problem as to why I developed such fear. And then he prepared me to a series of therapy sessions.

He started by talking me right into resting on the couch and asked me to meditate on my fear. He told me to visualize on the idea of seeing a spider and imagining that there's one that's near me right now. He also talked me into thinking that there's actually one spider that's crawling in my skin at the moment and in the concurrently asked me questions about how I felt towards the scenario. I told him that I'm really panicking at the moment and any time then I would truly freak out and would probably walk out of the room because of the mind projection thing that's going on. I started to feel that I was in the wrong place and my spirit began to weaver as I thought that I would never really get through the entire process. I thought that I would just settle with having the fear for my entire life. I even thought that as long as it doesn't get me killed I will be just okay. But a part of me wanted to continue and push through the entire nightmare-ish process of projecting a spider walking and crawling into my skin.

Even the therapist forced me into visualizing the entire idea of a spider walking into my skin. Every time I feel like giving up, the therapist would always remind of the goal I set upon myself when I entered the room and impressed unto me the gravity of the situation that will be if I don't succeed in the therapy. It somehow got me into thinking and decided to pursue the entire program even if the fear that has beset me is already crucifying me. But I know I had to push true.

The entire meditation and concentration part of the program took me a while until I got around of the idea of a spider crawling in my skin. I could already visualize me being calm about the spider presence. But the program didn't stop there as there is still the last part of the program which involves a more physical and real approach. This time, the therapist took a transparent jar with a spider as large as my fist. I almost felt like freaking out at that time and I think I was just a brink away from scurrying out of the room straight through the door. But I knew I had already made a resolve, and if I do run away, it would have been all for nothing and I don't want to make my trip to the therapist pointless. So I sat and the therapist freed the tarantula on my arm. I could feel the furry pointy legs brush into my skin and I seriously feel like jumping out. But the therapist reminded me of the concentration and visualization I had earlier and asked me to recur the thoughts and the feelings I had when I accepted. And I got over the feeling of fear at that very moment.

Since then I stopped fearing spiders. I don't try to catch them though and put them into jars to get back on them. But I could very well do those things I used to be afraid to do before. I could go to anywhere now without having to fear anything at all. Thanks to that therapy.

A Victory Story about Spider Fear I

(This is a guest post by Christian C.)

If there are things that I wouldn't be able to forget in my life, then perhaps one of it is the fact that I was an arachnophobic. It was probably three years ago that I would hysterically react if ever I would find a spider that would thread along my presence. Even if the spider is meters away from me, but still in my line of sight, I would freak out and would immediately get out of the house or anywhere to avoid the its presence. The thought that it might eventually come close to me already shrinks my heart into absolute fear. I could not also forget how things were each time I get into a place and feel within me that there's actually a spider presence inside, I would feel relentlessly uptight, even if I'm not seeing any spider at all. The thought alone degrades me and would sometimes find myself screaming out of imaginary fear. My mentality is so much hinged in the idea that spiders are scary creatures and I think it all started out when I was five years old. Since then everything in how I see spiders
changed until three years ago that everything fortunately went well; that I didn't get to fear any spider's presence at all or at least I've learned to control my impulses whenever I see one. I could really not forget how things turned out just fine eventually. I thought there's absolutely no hope for me anymore, until I was introduced to an exposure therapy three years ago.

I knew that I had to do something about my debilitating condition towards my fear on spiders. It's considerably hampering my day to day activities already and I have been becoming quite unproductive because of it, especially when I started to work at the office. I am hesitant to go into certain places in the office which I think is inhabited by a spider and I'm even afraid to go under my office desk to throw trash into the basket because I fear that I might get bitten by a spider just lurking beneath the desk. It's a good thing that my superiors understood the state that I'm in and have given me ample consideration so as not to put me into a situation wherein I would irrationally freak out. This is how impeding my fear is for some time.

I do know that my fear towards spiders is irrational and compulsive and I'm very much aware that the fear is only a state of mind. However, I find it very difficult to do away with it once and for all. Every time I personally attempt to get rid of the fear, so as to force myself into encountering the spider (not even personally touching it), just by the mere presence of it, I would immediately withdraw from my resolve and go back right to where I was. I shrink in fear before I could even come close to that place where the spider is. Still I know that I have to get rid of it at some point. I know that I must not let things go the way they are right now with spiders or else I would direly suffer from the consequences of these compulsions. I have been considering medical help since then because I was already thinking that I couldn't handle these things on my own and the fear is growing in me and I'm beginning to think that it may reach a point of no return soon. I had to go and get some help to someone who really knows how to handle things like this.

Let's go back first to where it started. I remember that it was summer of the year when I was still five years old when I watched a horror movie about oversized spiders taking over the world. I could not remember the title of the movie as I was careless of such things before, being a five-year old and all, the only thing you would probably care about it the special effects you get out from the movie and the awe you would feel watching them. However, in this particular spider movie I have watched, I was in for more than just the feeling of awe in watching its special effects as I would contract a far worse feeling of fear out of it. I watched the spiders in the movie rampaging in the cities and tearing all the people in its way into pieces. It was a gore-ish movie and I believe I should have not watched it but apparently my elder sister's friends did not care about the sensitivity of a five-year-old's perception. After seeing the movie, I started to feel a sense of fear as the images of the movie scenes are constantly recurring in my mind. It went on that way for the following days until three days later, I was at the lawn of our house, playing underneath our big sycamore tree, when I suddenly noticed a glistening threadlike thing above me, and somehow it was reflecting the sun. And I eventually came to notice the X mark in the middle. I looked even more to discern what it was when suddenly I felt something dropped on my face and started to crawl. I could distinctively remember the furry, rough, pointy texture of its limbs as it crawled into my face for a second or so. The images of the spider move I last saw recurred like flashing images in my mind. And then I realized that it was a spider, I swiped it off my face as fast as I can and ran back home to hide. I dreaded the presence of a spider ever since.

So, until I grew up, I carried the fear within me, haunting me like some childhood ghost that's not letting go no matter what I do. I would really want to get rid of it but I don't how just yet.

to be continued...

Applying the Spider Fear Therapy to Yourself

Spiders are hideous, disgusting and gross. Just the fact of imagining them lurking from the dark readying themselves to pounce for an imminent attack scares the hell out of you already. Don't worry, these sorts of fears don't only occur to you as they could actually happen to me as well and to everyone around you. Most people, even some of the braves of men would sometimes fear the presence of spiders nearby, because unlike larger animals which you can immediately detect and capture if necessary, spiders, being so small would prove to be a difficult thing to evade, let alone capturing them. You would also consider fearing the idea that there could be quite a lot of them everywhere. And if ever they do attack all at once, you are really in serious situation. You may be able to use traps, or fumigation methods to get rid of the spiders once and for all. However, there's no saying when they will be back for vengeance. Considering that there are still thousands of them outside of your house, an eventual spider infestation is just a matter of time once again. Therefore the obvious conclusion is you can never escape them. You may be able to run but you can never hide from their attacks if ever they would intently do so.

Spiders also come in many different color and often bright colors that they could definitely the candies in our eyes. Being an eye-catcher is a good thing in a different opinion, but when it comes to spiders, we could almost equate the color of the spider into fear. The fear of being more brightly colored the spider would be, the more dangerous they may become. However, in truth that is absolutely not true as that kind of indication is only applicable to snakes and not to spiders. The most dangerous of all spiders are not even colored so well at all. It's actually dull brown in color and you could almost mistake it for something else not poisonous at all. The black widow spider in itself is not brightly colored at all. The only color in them is the red hourglass shaped marking beneath their abdomen and of course the black. Still, we can get ourselves so hyped up from fear each and every time we see a spider come in our way. We get so fearful that we would even be so afraid to squish them right off. These are just of the common manifestations to anyone who fears the presence of spiders or in other words, a person who happens to have arachnophobia. They would usually manifest these behaviors each time they see on that would come their way. They would become so hysterically afraid that they wouldn't eve dare squish the spider right away even if it's already conveniently conducive for stepping. It is a different case however if you are squeamish. If you're squeamish, you wouldn't only fear squishing spider, but all the other bugs that are squishable.

So how do you deal with these kinds of fear yourself? How do you make sure that you wouldn't have to fret away from spiders each and every time you see one pass by your way? The bigger question would be now is how to deal with the problem without any help but still be able to conquer your fear with flying colors? Is that even possible?

The answer to these questions relies on how well you will be able to handle yourself and persevere in your quest to truly conquer your fear.

There are many ways to conquer the fear alone without the assistance of professional experts. It is also more advantageous that way because you wouldn't have to spend anything at all or any amount for professional help since you would be doing the treatment on your own. The truth that you have to understand essentially is the truth that any fear is conquerable because they are all a state of mind. Fear is just a matter of conquering your consciousness. If you conquer the conscious part of your brain that deals with the fear, then there's just absolutely nothing to fear about. The important ingredient here is courage. If you have to courage to conquer your fear, then you may therefore be able to be brave in anything that you are afraid of. The same thing goes as well with the fear of spiders. Spider fear is ultimately conquerable; you just have to make sure you are brave enough.

The first thing that you have to do in order to go through the initials of the treatment is to mentally condition your mind first. This can be done gaining enough information about the thing that you fear the most. If you fear spiders, you must research about the facts about spiders, both good and bad sides. If you know all these things about spiders, you may be able to use the facts you have learned to move on to the next step of the process. The next process now then would be acceptance.

The next process is acceptance. Using all the information you have gathered, inclusive of both pros and cons, you may start reconditioning your mind and begin accepting the nature of spiders as they are omnipresent and you can't do anything about it. If you comprehend the entire nature of spiders, it may truly help to accept all sides of them. For example, if you know that there are only a few species of spiders that are poisonous, you wouldn't have to fear anymore the multitudes of spiders that are inside the house because you know that you wouldn't have to worry of being harmed of them anymore.

Next step after acceptance is exposure. You will never be able to get to know and numb yourself from your fear when you won't expose yourself to it. Make sure that you will forcibly condition yourself and your mind to face your fear on spiders by physically touching a spider's presence. Once you get used to it, you'll never have to freak out every time you see one anymore.

How The Word "Arachnids" Came to Be?

We commonly know spiders to be spiders and not on their real nomenclature arachnids probably because of the reason that it is appropriate to name them like that since the name has generic applications to all species that belong to it. There are other arachnids of course. The harvestman is often regarded as spider; however it is not, but still belongs to the arachnid group. Scorpions also belong to the species of arachnids but they are not spiders in any way. They belong to a completely different species and must not be regarded as spider. Having said that, it is therefore understood why you can't call spiders as arachnids since there are many different species that belong to them. It is just appropriate to call them as "spiders" since that is how they are being called since time immemorial. Calling them in any other way is either inappropriate or would make people awkwardly uncomfortable since they are not used to it. Spiders should remain to be called spiders and that's how it should be. But let's set that aside first and let's focus on the main content of this article which is how the name arachnid came to be.

There are many myths and theories as to how the name arachnids came to be. Actually, there are so many of them that scientists and word origin specialists could no longer trace the real foundations of the name. The name arachnid is just understood the way they are defined now by dictionaries and how they are commonly defined by scientists at present. But there's one myth that stands out among them all. This one is the myth that originated from Greece and which happens to be the most accepted theory of them all so far by many contemporary scientists.

The name arachnid isn't actually arachnid at first, but the word origin was Arachne and this was the name of a person. The story of Arachne isn't actually a happy story, but a rather tragic one. One's tragic disposition could only be compared to how spiders would tragically look like normally. When you learn this Greek myth, you will then be fully be able to understand the extent of how spiders are named the way they are and all the other species that belong to the same genera. You would fully comprehend why arachnids would normally look like that.

You have to understand as well though that the idea of myths is fictional and are most likely non-existent. They exist to give a literary interpretation of things and to explain the things that were not explained before because of the lack of empiricism before as well as the incapacities of the technology and science before to find out the real truth in the things that one would see.

The Myth of Arachne

The story of Arachne traces from a long time before, when Gods and Goddesses still reside at Mt. Olympus - the believed place where gods and goddesses of the Greeks dwell. Arachne just happens to be a mere human being. A mere thread spinner who weaves tapestries and other works of clothe. However she was so pretty that a lot of women in her town envy her. At the height of the praises she gets for her beauty, it got into her head and she became conceited. She bragged so much about her beauty that she dared mock the goddesses in Olympus claiming that she's more beautiful than even the goddesses. Her claims have reached Mt. Olympus and have direly offended the goddesses, especially the goddess Venus. One day the goddess descended down from Mt. Olympus to pay the conceited human Arachne a visit in her tapestry shop. Venus disguised herself as a mere human being in order to conceal her presence from Arachne and to interact with ease and ultimately find out the truth on the woman's brags. Indeed the goddess Venus discovered the apparent unmatched beauty of the human Arachne and what caught the goddess's ire even more is that unravelling truth that the human Arachne was indeed a braggart, constantly bragging about her beauty and upon saying this in the presence of the true goddess of beauty, Venus casted a spell on Arachne and turned her into a creature of the dark. Arachne began to shrink in size so small that she could barely be seen in an immediate naked eye view. Then she suddenly started growing more limbs in her body; two limbs came out from under her arms and other two pairs of limbs in her lower torso, all in all constituting eight limbs. And then the threads she weaves to create tapestries became silk threads that come out from her behind. Venus intentionally did this so that instead of making beautiful tapestries for other people's embellishments she would make tapestries of silk threads for her own dwelling. Arachne became a spider and would forever lurk in the dark in concealment, hiding in plain sight to many people because of how hideous she has become.

Since then, the word Arachne became the word arachnid as we know it right now and it simply refers to any bug-like creatures that possesses eight limbs in total and lurks usually in dark places concealing its presence from humans. These creatures are usually hideous in appearance and would normally catch the fear of a lot of people once they are seen. Scientists have made it a point to base the generic name of these creatures to the myth of Arachne because of the strong semblance in characteristics being portrayed in the story. The words arachnids is perhaps just the evolution of the word as to how it is more conveniently pronounced to some people in the different places in the world and have eventually become the general calling for all creatures of the same sort.

However, even if the myth portrays arachnids as hideous, it's not always necessary that all arachnids in real life would also look the same way. In fact, in a scientific perspective, arachnids are fascinating and beautiful creatures.

More Myth Busters: The Myth About Venomous Spiders

Contrary to what most people thing about spiders, are actually docile creatures or at least most of the spiders are. They are not hostile and aggressive and the only time they do bite humans is when they feel threatened or hurt and that circumstance alone is hard to come by or very rare as they are usually found hanging in the ceiling, barely within human reach. One has to consider the apparent proximity between a person and a spider, before jumping right into the conclusion that spiders can really do harm you. Also, almost all spiders are totally harmless to humans. Most spider species don't have venoms that can seriously harm humans. There are only a single percent out of all the spider species in the world that can pose serious threat to humans because of their very potent venoms. These poisonous spiders usually carry neurotoxin venom which primarily attacks the nervous system of a person, which is also the reason why they are considered dangerous. However, these spiders are barely found wandering in households or in any human dwellings. Most likely they are found in deep jungles or rainforest, far from human interference. Although, there are certain very rare occasions that these poisonous spiders would find their way near to human habitation, these should mostly not bother you at all. Also, there is no spider venom in this world that doesn't have antivenom yet. Unless, of course if there's still a poisonous spider species that isn't discovered yet, then that would really makes things a bit different. But come to think of it, even so a discovery of a new species of poisonous spider is unearthed, that doesn't still change the fact that there is just so few species of spiders that can harm humans, thus making the possibility of contracting the venom from a newly found species of poisonous spiders virtually improbable.

Like what was said earlier, there are only very few species of spiders that are considered truly poisonous to human beings and that they are rarely found wandering in human dwellings (It's a different story if you live deep in a jungle or forest). They are so few that one could actually just identify and enumerate them all; so few, that there are actually just three of them that live on earth.

One of them is the black widow spider. Notorious and famous for its neurotoxins, they are perhaps the most commonly seen poisonous spider in the world. However, their existence itself is built on so many myths and misconceptions. Say for example, the belief that their neurotoxins are inevitably fatal. The truth is, a black widow's venom may be a very potent neurotoxin but it could only become fatal if it results to certain complications, especially if the person has histories of cardiac disorders or diseases. The effects of a black widow spider could immediately be dealt with the initial clinical procedures. It is imperative though to hospitalize the person bitten by a black widow so as not to take the risk at all. It's better to be sure now than to be dead later.

Another is the Sydney funnel web spider, which already have accumulated popularity due to some numbers of reported cases of fatality from its bite. However, a funnel web spider doesn't really target human beings as they prey on smaller creatures they can manage to devour. It is wrong to think that they would deliberately pay you a visit just to bite you contrary to what most people believe they would do.

Perhaps the most notorious and the sole master and supreme ruling species of the entire poisonous spider species in the world is the Brazilian wandering spider or the banana spider as what local people commonly call the spider. This spider holds the title of the most venomous spider in the world according to Guinness world book of records. A .006 milligram dosage of its venom is enough to kill a mouse instantly. And imagine each bite may inject a pack-full of venom; it wouldn't take much to kill a full grown adult. Without doubt, they are indeed poisonous and fatal, however, there are only very few of them in the world and they are endemically exclusive to a specific place in the world (You'd know what the place is by reading again its name). Therefore, the banana spider isn't that much of a threat to anyone at all unless if they all suddenly procreate rapidly, then your house is in danger of a visitation. And no matter how poisonous a wandering spider can be, it still has antivenom. Once administered right away to bitten individual, he will most certainly live to see through the rising of the sun in the next day.

There are other two poisonous spiders though that still is worth to fear but they don't have as much reputation as the three mentioned above. These two spiders are the brown recluse spider, easily recognizable by the brown fiddle shape figure in its back and the redback spider which happens to be a relative spider of the black widow, only that its red markings is on its back and not below of the abdomen. These spiders are feared, not because they can cause fatality, unlike the spiders mentioned above, however they cause severe health complications which makes them apparently dangerous as well.

This is the truth about spiders and the fear of them. The truth is that there's absolutely nothing to fear at all if you just sit around your house's corner, watching TV. Don't worry about getting killed with a bite because there's absolute one in a million chances you'll get bitten with one of those spiders you would really have to worry about. Just as long as you stay put and leave those poor spiders in peace, you would coexist harmoniously with the spiders. Next time you see a spider, just leave them be, they wouldn't be doing anything to you. Trust me when I say, they are more afraid of you than you are to them.

Spider Art Projects

It might sound too ridiculous for a person with Arachnophobia to believe, but October is a month for spiders, at least in some parts of the world. Many pre-school teachers are even inclined to give activities that would help their students to learn more about spiders and perhaps shake off their fear on these little creatures. The goal of the celebration is to correct the common misunderstanding that we all have about spiders. It is so easy to assume and believe that spiders are nothing but harmful and hairy crawlies; blame that mentality to Hollywood because of their non-stop depiction of spiders as monsters that eat live humans and to people who have Arachnophobia who make up stories to make spiders appear more dangerous than they actually are.

The truth about spiders is that they might have venom but the amount of venom that they can excrete is too little if compared to the venom released by other animals like snakes. Thus, it is safe to say that in select instances when their bite indeed pierces through the skin (majority of the spiders have fangs that cannot penetrate the skin); the venom that they inject into the body is far from being lethal. The most that the venom can do is cause itchiness and reddening, apart from these two, spider bites cannot harm you more.

To help pre-school teachers convey this message to young children, they need to use methods which children can relate to. For example, they let their students do spider-related art projects and get involved in cooking spider-inspired children's food. This article is all about art projects, so if you are curious as to how you are going to teach kids about spiders without frightening them, and then read until the last sentence. Have fun!

Spider-related Art Projects

Children love to use crayons, construction papers and pencils to express themselves. When properly guided, making art projects is a very effective way to get across your points to children.

1. Spider handprints

While many parents might disapprove of the idea of their children having anything to do with spiders (especially if they have Arachnophobia themselves), the teaching of proper spider knowledge during the month of October has become tolerable to most of these parents. During this month, you can actually assign kids to make their own stationery with spiders as the main design. The procedure is simple, simply ask your students or the kids who you are teaching to bring with them a construction paper which measures 7 by 10 inches, or you can provide your students with the paper if you can afford it. You also need to prepare poster paints (poster paint is a good choice because it can be easily washed away by water).

Now, paint each of your students' palms and fingers (except the thumb). You can let the kids pick their favorite color. Once everybody has their palms and finger painted, ask them to press their right palm on the centre of the construction paper, do no forget to instruct them to spread their fingers outward and to not move their palms while they press. Let them count up to five and then ask them to slowly lift-up their palms. Now, ask them to do the same with their left pal, with the palm overlapping the print left by the right palm. The resulting imprint is an 8-legged spider design. To make the "painting" more realistic, let each student cut-out colourful small circles which will serve as the eyes of your spider.

2. Spider Web Painting

This project is quite messy but the fun that kids will have through it will be priceless. So, if you are ready to deal with the mess, prepare sheets of white construction papers measuring 8 inches in each side. Find a suitable stout open box that can contain the paper properly. Ask your students to dip a piece of marble in black paint and let them drop their painted marbles into the open box with the white construction paper resting on the bottom. Let each student tilt his or her open box to make the marble roll over the paper. Make them do circular motions to imitate the shape of a spider web. You can also use white paint and black construction paper, depending on your preference. Once your students are done, let them pull out the marble and ask them to wash their hands while they wait for the paint to dry. Once dry, give each of them a spider sticker to stick on their spider web.

3. Spider Paper Plates

Teach your students how to make fun spider paper plates. The materials needed are: black paint, paper plates, and sheets of construction papers (pre-cut to 1 by 18 inches), a stapler and some staples. Student participate is limited to the painting of the paper plates but when it comes to stapling the construction paper sheets to the paper plate, I think that you should just do it yourself. The construction paper sheets will serve as the legs of the spider. The fun part of this art project is during the testing part where you ask each of your students to line-up and bring with them their plates. You need to have some snacks ready so that the kids get to try using their paper plates.

4. Spider Webs Made from Spaghetti

This project is best for 1st graders because at this stage, kids are already capable of handling things gently and cooked spaghetti has to be handled quite gently in this specific project. Group your students into 4 or 5 and have them sit together in a table. Place a bowl of cooked spaghetti in each table (about a kilogram of spaghetti will be enough for 5 groups) and a small bowl of white glue. Now, ask the students to mix the white glue to the spaghetti bowl as they would do with spaghetti sauce. Let them have some fun mixing the spaghetti with their hands. You can then ask them to pull spaghetti stands and use these strands as "spider silk" to start constructing them own spider web.

Spiders in Ohio

It is not surprising to know that hundreds of unique spider species can be found in many different countries across the globe. Experts approximate that there are about 500 thousand kinds of spiders all over the world. Of this tremendous number, only 41 thousand have been named and identify. Thus, if you really look into it, you can make a long list of the different spiders that can be found in different habitats whether these habitats are in deserts, waste lands or the tropics. In most cases, spiders are harmless although they might look to be the contrary of that. In Ohio for example, majority of all the spiders found there are completely harmless to humans. If you are in Ohio, you might be interested to identify spiders by yourself. Simply follow the steps provided below to learn how to identify spiders that inhabit in Ohio.

1. If you want to find a crab spider, simply look in your garden (or your neighbour's garden if you don't have your own). These spiders normally stay under flower petals and tree barks. They also like to crawl around fruits so you might as well find them in fruit trees. Crab spiders can adapt to the color of their environment so expect to see a yellowish crab spider under a yellow flower and so on.

2. You will also find it easier to identify a spider by identifying first if it spins a web. In many cases, spinning spiders in Ohio are orb weavers. The most common ones are the humped orb weaver, golden orb weaver and the garden orb weaver. These spiders weave very sticky webs which they use to catch prey. They spin their webs between trees where most of the insects fly.

3. You can also find very small spiders in Ohio. These spiders spin very unusual webs. These webs are very different to the regular webs that we see. These spiders are called Sheet Weaver Spiders and they weave their webs into the shape of a cone composed of several layers. The cone-like web is very effective in catching prey that are bigger that the spiders. These spiders are only a fourth of an inch big so they depend greatly on their webs to catch food for them.

4. Ground spiders are also very common in Ohio. These spiders can be recognized by the appearance of their spinnerets or those "pincers" that they use to weave their webs. Their spinnerets are barrel-shaped and their middle eyes are not circular, instead the eyes are narrow. The color of most ground spiders are black, pink, brown, grey or a combination of these colors.

5. Jumping spiders are quite common in Ohio too, just like wolf spiders are. These spiders prefer to live in shrubbery areas or in forests. However, they can also live in deserts and in a many other types of environments around Ohio and in many parts of the United States. Wolf spiders can be identified by the alignment of their eyes. They have eight eyes like all other spiders by these eyes are set in different rows. This unusual placement of their eyes gives them very excellent vision. These spiders can most easy to identify when they are carrying their eggs. Unlike most spider species, these spiders carry their eggs with them through an egg sac attached to their bodies. Thus, if you see a spider that has an egg sac attached to its body, then there is a high possibility that it is a wolf spider. Moreover, the spider is usually brown in color with orange markings on its back.

Like what has been said earlier in this article, there are so many other spiders in Ohio. The more common ones are already given above, but if you want to know more about the spiders that live in Ohio, you might want to refer to the list below. The list is obtained from the data gathered by the Ohio State University. This list has been published for a couple of times already. The first publication was in 1994. The original list contains 624 species. But for the purposes of this article, we will just list down a portion of this actual number. (Source:

Antrodiaetidae - The common name for this spider group is Folding Door. There are two spiders in Ohio that belong to this group.

Atypidae - Three spiders have been discovered in Ohio to belong to this group. These spiders are more commonly called as Purse Web.

Ctenizidae - So far, only one spider has been found in Ohio to belong in this group. The common name for this spider is Trap Door.

Agelenidae - More commonly known as Funnel Webbers. Six of these have been found in Ohio.

Amaurobiidae - Even with 10 spiders belonging to this group, Amaurobiidae or Hackledmesh Weavers are still not very common in Ohio.

Anyphaenidae - Also known as Ghost Spiders. There are seven spiders in Ohio that are classified as Ghost Spiders.

Araneidae - The common name for his groups is Orb Weaver and this group ranks as the third largest group with 57 members, it follows after Jumping Spiders with 76 which also follows after Dwarf Weavers with 83.

The other groups are listed below (scientific name first followed by their common names if there is any). Enclosed in the parentheses is the number of spiders belonging to that group.

Clubionidae/Sac spiders (13)
Corinnidae/Ground sac spiders (20)
Ctenidae/Wandering spiders (1)
Cybaeidae (2)
Dictynidae/Meshweb weavers (26)
Dysderidae/Dysderids (1)
Gnaphosidae/Ground spiders (43)
Hahniidae/Hahniids (7)
Erigoninae/Dwarf weavers (83)
Linyphiinae/Sheetweb weavers (46)
Liocranidae (2)
Lycosidae/Wolf spiders (56)
Mimetidae/Pirate spiders (6)
Miturgidae (3)
Mysmenidae/Dwarf cobweb spiders (2)
Nesticidae/Cave cobweb spiders (1)
Oecobiidae/Flatmesh weavers (2)
Oonopidae/Dwarf six-eyed spiders (1)
Oxyopidae/Lynx spiders (2)
Philodromidae/Philodromid crab spiders (16)
Pholcidae/Daddylongleg spiders (3)
Pisauridae/Nursery web spiders (8)
Salticidae/Jumping spiders (76)
Scytodidae/Spitting spiders (1)
Segestriidae/Segestriids (1)
Sicariidae/Six-eyed sicariid spiders (2)
Tengellidae (1)
Tetragnathidae/Long-jawed orbweavers (18)
Theridiidae/Cobweb weavers (56)
Theridiosomatidae/Ray orbweavers (1)
Thomisidae/Typical crab spiders (31)
Titanoecidae (2)
Uloboridae/Hackled orbweavers (3)
Zoridae/Zorids (1)
Zodariidae (1)

Spiders as Pets

Given the right living conditions, spiders make an excellent pet to boys and men alike. Many spider species are safe around humans thus there is no reason for mothers and wives to panic once the males start to play with these 8-legged creatures. Examples of spiders that are suitable as pets are the tarantulas and the wolf spiders. Just like all other animals and insects that people choose to domesticate, keeping spiders are pets also has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Keeping Spiders as Pets

1. Unlike other pets that require high maintenance, spiders are clean creatures. They would just sit quietly in their respective cages (of course, if they are sufficiently fed).

2. Many pets require vast living spaces. For example, dogs have to roam around to exercise or rabbits have to run to and fro. But spiders do not need all of that space. They are already happy and contented to live in a suitably sized terrarium. Then again, enthusiasts have to make sure that the terrarium can serve an as excellent spider habitat.

3. Since spiders can be kept in glass terrarium, you can actually put them on display. These creatures are incredibly amazing to watch, not to mention that their external appearance is intriguing enough to keep people gazing at them for hours. That's excellent entertainment for visitors in your house. Moreover, spider-watching is also a nice way to unwind after a day's work.

4. Now this one is rather crucial. Spiders do not need socialization. That means that you do not have to touch your pet to make it feel comfortable or secured. You do not have to make it interact with other spiders too. Unlike regular domesticated animals that require too much attention, spiders would not mind being left to attend to itself for as long as you give them enough food.

5. When it comes to expenses, obviously, spiders are cheaper to take care of. You do not have to buy different sorts of products to keep them healthy and beautiful. You do not have to buy them fancy cages, toys or clothes. Spiders live a simple life.

6. Most importantly, you do not have to buy a spider. Of course, if you have money to spare, you can do that. But, essentially, you can get spiders even in your own habitat. You can catch spiders in your garden or inside your house. You can also go spider-hunting in forests and other habitats. As far as the government is concern, it is not illegal to catch spiders in the wild, so you might as well want to use this fact to your advantage.

7. Lastly, just like what the other pets can do, taking care of spiders will help children learn to take on responsibility. Raising another living thing is a big responsibility for most children, but once they get through it, you can be assured that these kids will become better people once they grow up. Moreover, spiders can also spark their interest in animals, nature and in science.

Disadvantages of Keeping Spiders are Pets

1. Almost all spiders can excrete venom no matter how small. Although majority of these spiders cannot excrete enough venom to harm humans, the venom can be sufficient to cause itching, reddening and swelling of the bitten area. However, it might also be good news that most of these spiders do not have fangs which are long enough to inject their venom into the blood system of a person; so technically, the most that these spiders can do is give their human victim a sting.

2. One of the most popular spider pet which is the Tarantula has urticating hairs which they can "fire" whenever they feel threatened. Although Tarantulas are naturally patient with humans, there are cases when because of anxiety or stress they become aggressive and "fire" a couple of their hairs to their owner. The hair can cause serious irritations and when they get into the eyes of their victim, the hairs can even cause significant vision damage. However, this situation can be avoided by handling the pet away from the face and by wearing protective gloves.

3. Although spiders can live in a simple terrarium, select spider species also require a terrarium that has the exact physical condition of their natural habitat. That is, the terrarium has to be of the same temperature, lighting and humidity as their natural habitat. Moreover, pet owners have to make sure too that the spiders get the same nutritional requirements that they get from their natural habitat or else, these spiders might grow weak and die.

4. Spiderman can climb buildings for some reasons, right? Well, Spiderman's abilities are solely based on the abilities of a real spider. Spiders can climb different surfaces and even if the owner keeps his or her spider pets in a glass container, if it is not covered, it is still possible for the spider to escape out of the container. Thus, owners have to always cover the "cage" of the spiders and at the same time make sure that the cover will not deprive the spiders with the right amount of oxygen that they need. Airflow is very important to most spiders and if air is not properly flowing, spiders might just suffocate and die.

5. If the owner decided to take care of spiders other than the Tarantula, he or she has to prepare himself or herself of the possibility of losing his or her pet after a short time. Spiders are short-lived thus if the owner has the tendency to be attached to pets, then he or she should choose a tarantula. According to spider enthusiasts, Tarantulas can live as long as 20 or 30 years even in captivity.

6. Now, just like all other pets, at some point, spiders can also get sick. They are also susceptible to many forms of diseases caused by parasitic or fungal infection. The problem is, too few experts know how to treat spiders. So, the tendency is, once your spider becomes ill, you might as well expect that your spider can die because of the disease.

7. If detachment is a disadvantage for you, you should know that most spiders cannot be handles and caressed like ordinary pets. You have to keep your distance from them pets and content yourself to watching them from behind the glass.

8. You can't easily mate your spider. It is very difficult to cross-breed spiders too so you need to mate your spider with the same species and finding another spider pet owner with the same specie as yours can be daunting.

9. Many insurance companies do not merit spiders as pets, so if ever you got bitten by one, your insurance will be void by virtue of neglect or deliberate interaction with a supposed "dangerous" creature.

Studying Spider Biodiversity

Like all other creatures the live on earth, spiders are also very interesting research subjects. These arachnids have exploited almost all types of niches throughout the entire planet. Their ability to adapt to their environment and to develop characteristics that will enable them to survive in each of these environments make spiders very useful indicators of the changes experienced by our environment. Thus, studying spiders enable experts and researchers to explore the different concepts of biological diversity on our planet and at the same time, provide useful practical data on the application of these concepts to the steps that we take in conserving environmental biodiversity. People behind these studies usually proceed with their researches in three levels, each increasing in depth as the one before it. These levels are: 1. Sorting and Classifying, 2. Contrasting and 3. Evolutionary Comparison. This article will discuss about the first level in length. However, for levels 2 and 3, all that this article can offer is an overview.

1. Sorting and Classifying

A comprehensive spider study involves different spider subjects or a collection of different spiders. Spiders might be grouped according to the environment that they are found or to different characteristics. In is very important for researchers to develop and effective and efficient way to sort and classify spider collections in order to assess fully if the data is comprehensive enough to make the study rich and realistic.

But how do researchers collect spiders? Oftentimes, the more equipped researchers are the biologists because they are highly trained professionals who know how to handle different types of creatures, including spiders. First, biologists would choose a range for their sampling. So, if the sample range is 100, they would have to find 100 spiders from 100 different trees, if the test environment is a forest. Collected spiders should not be deformed in any way and almost every time, biologists would simply dislodge a live spider to drown in a vial of alcohol. The alcohol will serve as a preservative of the spider's body. Each spider collected will be examined in the laboratory to determine whatever data that the biologist would need from the spider. These spiders are photographed using a microscopic camera and the photos will be compiled along with a detailed description of the spider.

Now that each of the spiders have been identified, the biologist would have to sort these spiders one by one. Normally, biologists sort spider based on their specie but of course, in some cases, biologists may opt to sort them some other way. To get accurate information about the spider, it has to be inspected based on its external characteristics. This task will be easier now because all that the biologists have to sort are the photographs along with their descriptions. This task would have been harder if the biologist have to sort dead spiders. This is also the importance why they have to preserve the spiders, carefully examine them in the laboratory and take clear microscopic shots of their preserved bodies. Biologists use tables and graphs to assist them in classifying spiders based on specie. Examining the spider's genital is often the easiest way to quickly identify which specie a spider belongs to.

Now that the spiders have been classified based on specie, the biologist would have to assign each specie-group with a "friendly name". The name will help the biologist and the other researchers to refer to specie with description names that would easily relate the spider specie into an image in their minds. This is extremely helpful to research groups where there are many people working on the same research.

To be able to know if the collection does represent the real spider diversity in the test environment, the data gathered should meet certain standards. For example, the biologist has to construct a Collector's Curve which plots the cumulative number of spider species versus the number of spider species found in the place. The curve was developed by Colwell and Coddington in 1994. According to the two, sampling cannot stop while the curve is still increasing. Thus, if this happens, it only proves that the sampling is yet incomplete. Furthermore, if the curve flattens out, then all the species have been detected.

The collector's curve is constructed by using random specimen data within the spider collection. The process is rather too technical for a lay person to understand, but to put it simply, each point in the graph shall represent one random sample from the collection. The graph will progress for each sample which has been randomly picked up until the entire plot is completed, that is, all X and Y coordinates have been filled up. The resulting graph would either be flat, steep, slow rising or slow falling. The shape of the curve actually determines the diversity of the spiders in the test environment. Biologists are trained to interpret such graphs to give understandable conclusions to a lay person.

2. Contrasting

The real goal of level 2 is to contrast the diversity of spiders in the test environment with the diversities of the environments where conservation efforts are in place. To do this, biologists will compare the collection that that they have obtained in their test environment with the data that that has been obtained in conserved environments. These data might have been obtained by other biologists and researchers, so the members of the research team also need time to understand the data before it can be compared to theirs. In order to do that, they need to follow mathematical and statistical formulas to establish a common ground. Once the calculations have been completed, researchers will be able to answer questions like "how does the test environment rank among protected environments", "how will the protection be performed” and so much more.

3. Evolutionary Comparison

Now, this level is rather more interesting to an average reasonable person because it explores the distinctiveness of each spider specie from the others based on the spider evolution. That is, biologists will have to consider that at one point in time, spiders belonging to different spider species might have evolved from the same species.

Some Must-Know Stuff about Spiders

More often than not, the little details and facts about spiders are neglected and set aside because of the fact that a lot of people fear and or dislikes their presence. Most people would immediately then regard spiders to be disgusting creatures that have to be kept away for good or prevented to come in close into any close-human proximities. You can't blame these people though for fearing spiders, the sheer look of spiders, especially if you don't have very appreciating eyes, would immediately make you gross out. And that is why you would immediately go running away from a presence of a spider in front of you. People often really do this and they tend to keep things that way. In worst case scenarios, people develop a much more heightened fear and paranoia over spiders. Such phobia is called "arachnophobia" or the fear of spiders. And this phobia may come with anxiety, compulsions and hysteria and that would definitely not going to be good for anyone.

The truth is, spiders are actually very fascinating creatures of earth and they serve many purposes to the environment. Moreover, it is absolutely not true to think that spiders are gross and disgusting creatures as one could only just marvel with their beauty both inside and out. Spiders even have amazingly bright displays in their bodies. Their features are often colourful and mystifying; something that can be considered as a work of natural art for others. If you are able to learn all these stuff from spiders, you would definitely get rid of your uncalled for fears for them and finally be able to live with them in harmony. This is one of the best ways to get rid of any fears for spiders or not cultivate any sense of fear for them at all.

Here are some data you can read on about spiders so that you may fully appreciate the extent of their beauty, as well as to fully comprehend their nature.

The Purpose of Spiders in the Natural Balance

Spiders aren't just decorations of nature that the entire ecosystem will be able thrive without them. Like all other creatures on earth, big or small, have critical role in keeping the balance in check. Once you take out spiders out of the equation, a lot of creatures will be taken out of the equation and eventually, humans will have to suffer from the domino effect from taking out one creature off the balance.

Spiders are actually invertebrates. That simply means that they don't have any backbones to support their backs. However, they do have an exoskeleton that serves as a framework to their body. Exoskeletons are actually a creature's skeleton, only that it is located in the outside.

Spiders are among of the crucial factors of plant reproduction. Spiders help plants and flowers reproduce and propagate by cross pollinating them. When a spider is on a particular plant or flower, the pollens will attach themselves on the spider's hairy features. These pollens will then be cross pollinated when a spider transfers from one place to another, or transfers from one plant to the next one.

Spiders also serve as very effective decomposers. They actually help degrade dead plants and animals and turning them into immediate nourishment to the soil. In return the nourishments in the soil from the decomposed dead plants and animals will nurture the plants, enabling them to grow and flourish even more, which also consequentially will provide food sources to many creatures, including humans. As you all may very well know, we also feed on plants. You must make it a point to understand that these plants that we feed on would never have been there if not for the tedious decomposition tasks of the spiders.

More about Spiders

Spiders are often misconceived as insects because of their insect-like appearances. However, spiders actually belong to a different group of animals called arachnids. This type of insect-like creatures normally have eight legs and two body parts, contrary to insects which have six legs and three body parts. Their functions as well to the environment make them significantly different to each other. However, there are certain spiders that are an exception to their common natures. Some spiders only have six eyes, like the brown recluse spiders and more or only have a singular body part.

Spiders are actually very many. Not just many even but multitude of them actually thrives in earth and we don't even know the rest of them yet. Out of 30,000 species of spiders, there are still 250,000 more species that are yet to be named and classified. The ongoing research of spiders has been on the pedals for almost over three quarters of a century already and that is still as much as they have discovered. Every other day, new spider species are being discovered and some of them have the most bizarre environmental context and features.

Spiders don't produce offspring through conception but with eggs. They are oviparous creatures, therefore, they lay eggs which contains their younglings which will later on when it hatches, will become spiderlings. Spiderlings are actually little replicas of the adult version of a spider. Sometimes, they are slightly different in color but more or less look the same as their father and mother. Spiders are capable of producing more than a hundred eggs per seating. That's why the spider population on earth is quite a lot.

Spider bites, contrary to what most people would believe to be fatal, are generally not fatal at all. So far there are only two species of spiders that pose fatal threat to a human being and these are the families in which the Sydney funnel web spider and Brazilian wandering spider belongs. A single venomous bite from any these spiders would definitely put you down if not countered with antivenom. The rest of the spider species are tolerably venomous. Even the notorious black widow spider isn't that seriously fatal at all. It can only become fatal if the bite results to a complication with a preceding heart ailment.

Common Spiders Found in Georgia (Part III)

If you have not read the first two parts of this article series, you might as well want to check on those articles first before you proceed reading this article. Just like the first two article, this article is also about some of the spiders commonly found in Georgia. In the previous articles, we only discussed about the etymology, physical description, habitat, behaviour and venom of the spiders. In this article, we will add another key point of discussion: the web that the spiders make. In the first two parts of this series of articles about the spiders found in Georgia, four types or spiders have already been covered, these are: the crab spiders, cellar spiders, fishing spiders and crevice spiders. In this article, we will talk about the Funnel-web spider and the orb-weaving spider.

1. Funnel-web spider

a. Etymology

Funnel-web spiders got their name from the shape of the webs that they weave. They weave funnel-shaped traps catch their prey. Funnel-web spiders are not only endemic to Georgia, they are also found all over the world. In fact, about 700 known funnel-web spider species are believed to be located in many types of grassland in many parts of the world.

b. Physical Description

Funnel-web spiders have bodies that are relatively oversized. Their bodies are oval-shaped and long with legs that are both narrow and long. Their legs are also hairy. They are able weave funnel-like webs because of the spinnerets located on their abdomens. Moreover, a Funnel-web spider can be identified through the white stripes that decorate the inlays of their black or brown backs.

c. Habitat

These spiders like cool and wet environments. Thus they prefer to live under stones or in holes, even in crevices. Funnel-web spiders are mostly active at night time for the entire year. Furthermore, these spiders are most prevalent in grasslands.

d. Web

Funnel-spiders do not place glue droplets into their webs, thus they are bale to weave funnel-like webs that are not sticky. These webs are intricately woven to have layers of webs that are attached to vegetation. Although it is not sticky, the layers of webs already make it impossible for the prey to break free from the funnel-like trap. The funnel-like web also serves as a lounge for the spider. Somewhere along the side of the funnel is a small opening where the spider can slide through and enter the funnel without difficultly. The spider can feed on its victim inside the funnel-like web and enjoy fresh food. Because of their excellent design, funnel-like webs can remain moist even during the hot days. So, spiders can actually find retreat inside their funnel-like webs when the weather outside becomes too hot.

e. Behaviour

Female Funnel-web spiders are able to lay 100 eggs at a time. All these eggs are securely placed inside an egg sac for protection. After about three weeks, the eggs hatch and the spiderlings will remain close to the egg sac until they become mature enough find their own way. They reach maturity in about 2 years and after that, female funnel-web spiders are able to live for another 10 years while the males can live for another 8.

f. Venom

This spider is one of the rarest spiders that can cause complications to humans. Their bites can transfer their venom which may cause severe redness and swelling of the skin tissues. However, there are anti-venoms which can be used to counter these effects. Nevertheless, just like most spiders, these spiders do not bite on purpose and only does so when offended or threatened.

2. Orb-weaving Spiders

a. Etymology

Garden Orb-weaving spiders got their name from their habits in web-making and from their tendency to prefer living in gardens, fences and other places outdoors. They are scientifically known as the Argiope aurantia. This Latin name comes from the world used to refer to orange trees. Garden orb-weaving spiders are normally orange or yellow colored.

b. Physical Description

The most common garden orb-spider in Georgia is yellow colored. Their bodies are black with yellow patterns on their back. Their legs have two hues: tan and black. Just like all other spiders, female orb-weaving spiders are much larger than their male counterparts. Female orb-weaving spiders measures from 14 to 25 millimetres while the male ones are as small as 5 to 6 millimetres.

c. Habitat

Garden orb-spiders can live in different places but they are most fond of gardens and fields. They also like to hang around garden fences and along roadways where there are vegetation growing. These spiders are not only common in Georgia; these spiders are also common in Southern Canada and in all the other 48 states in the USA.

d. Web

Orb-weavers can build impressively large webs that are exceptional in strength. Their large disk-like webs can catch a lot of insects at night through the sticky circles in the spirals throughout the web. They also weave a unique zigzag pattern the runs down in the middle of their web. For this reason, orb-weaving spiders have also been known as the "writing spiders".

e. Behaviour

Most orb-weaving spiders are active at day time but there are some species which also feed during night time. They do not like being disturbed and whenever they are, they would vibrate their large webs to scare away the disturbance. According to experts, of all the members of the animal kingdom, only the orb-weaving spiders die while they mate. They have two reproductive organs used for mating. The male orb-weaving spider needs to use its first palp (sexual organ) first, before its actual reproductive organ can be used. Upon using the first organ, an irreversible seizure will come upon the male spider, killing it in the process. AS this happens, its other organ will begin to swell and blocks the sexual organ of the female, thus preventing her from mating with other males. Because the male organ has to serve as a "block" over the female's sexual organ, the male spider has to die and the female eats the male in order to take it off her back. After the mating, the female spider can go about its life as if nothing has just happened.

f. Venom

The orb-weaving spider has venom and in rare cases, it will bite humans causing redness and irritation on the skin surface where the bite is located.

Various Common Misconceptions about Spiders

For a creature so common, it is really amazing how many people often have misconceptions about spiders. There are 42,000 known spider species in the world and experts are even claiming that about 450,000 more are left unnamed and undiscovered and still, despite their vast number, a lot of us still confuse spiders with insects, among some other misconceptions. If you are curious which things you know about spiders are misconceptions and which are real, here is a short list of the most common general misconceptions about spiders:

1. Spiders are nothing but insects.

This is should take the first spot in this list because so many people actually thinks that spiders are indeed insects! We have all been taught in school that spiders are Arachnids and not insects but oftentimes, in our everyday lives, we do not seem to be particular about their difference. How many times have we heard someone day that "spiders feed on OTHER insects", that implies that spiders are insects right? Yet, we let it pass and at the back of our minds we think "well yeah, there's not much of a difference anyway". But actually, insects and spiders are so different in so many ways. Let's just point own 6 differences here: (1) Spiders only have two body parts while insects have three, (2) spiders have four pairs of simple eyes while insects only have two compound eyes, (3) spiders do not have antennae while insects have two, (4) spiders do not have wings while insects have two or four (though some do not have wings), (5) spiders have four pairs of legs while insects only have three and (6) spiders have un-segmented abdomens while insects have segmented abdomens.

2. Spiders have oily feet thus they do not stick on their own webs.

We must have ask others or even ourselves at one point in our lives (whether deliberately or not) why spiders do not stick on their own webs. Many people content themselves with this randomly generated answer: because spiders have oily feet. Of course, this is not true! Spiders simply tiptoe their ways throughout their webs. The entire web has droplets of spheroidal globs which serve as the "glue trap" on their web. When spiders accidentally "step" on one of these droplets, it also experiences the same amount of discomfort that we humans feel whenever we step on a gum. However, flies and other insects caught in the web happen to touch at least 50 of these sticky globs, thus making it quite impossible for them to break free. So, in general, the entire web is not really sticky, but spiders are able to place sticky droplets throughout the web making it effective in catching prey. Well, apart from their ability to tiptoe through their webs, spiders also have very unique tarsal claws. Insects do not have a third tarsal claw in each of its legs. This difference actually makes the spider more mobile in a spider web than all the other creatures.

3. When you say Arachnid, you mean to say Spiders.

While it is true that spiders are a kind of Arachnid, it is not just the spiders that are called Arachnids. In fact, there are eleven orders belonging to class Arachnid. These are: spiders, scorpions, pseudo scorpions, whip scorpions, mites, ticks, harvestmen and solpugids. The defining characteristic of Arachnids is their set of four legs. Thus, this means that not all creatures with eight legs can be automatically classified as spiders.

4. All kinds of spiders weave webs.

The term web is used to refer to spider silk woven to serve as a trap for catching prey. Now, although all spiders produce silk, not all of them weave webs because some of the spiders do not rely on traps to catch their prey, some spiders hunt for their food while some simply wait for their food to come to them. Examples of hunting spiders are: jumping spider, lynx spider, wolf spider, fishing spider and ground spider. Examples of spiders that simply wait for their prey to come to them are: crab spiders and trap door spiders. Nevertheless, although these spiders do not use silk to weave a web, they still use their silk in some other ways. For example, hunting spiders use their silk to build egg sacs and to serve as a dragline where they can traverse to and fro as they chase after their prey.

5. Spiders are so tiny to be able to bite humans.

Well, although in general, spiders do not intend to bite humans, some species are really able to do so when offended. Majority of the spiders have very tiny fangs, so tiny that these fangs will not be able to pierce through human skin. However, some spiders like the brown recluse spider and the crab spider have long fangs about 3 millimetres in length) which are enough to penetrate the human skill. Of course, their bite is not deadly to humans and redness or itching only happens in very rate occasions. Even though the offending spider is venomous, because of their very tiny size relative to humans, it is quite impossible for this venom to cause serious ill effects to humans.

6. Spiders do not really eat their victims; they simply suck out the juice from their victims and leave them dehydrated.

This is a myth. Maybe people are just so fond of the idea of having real life vampires but spiders are not even close to a vampire. Spiders eat and digest their victims. These creatures even have a unique way of digesting their victims. They use their silk to wrap their victims until they suffocate to death. Once dead, they vomit some sort of digestive fluids all over their victim and then begin to chew their victim using their chelicerae (or their jaws). The fluid that they have vomited is enough to "melt" some of the portions of their victim making it easier for them to simply suck the fluid back together with the melted parts of their victim's body. The spider vomits the same digestive fluid again and waits for the rest of their victim's body to melt before they suck the fluids back. They repeat this process until they get full and any remaining food will be wrapped in silk for future needs.

The Ancient Belief of Spiders Bringing Good Luck

While it is so easy for someone who has Arachnophobia to think of spiders as agents of bad luck, history thinks otherwise. In the early 1900s, spiders are believed to bring good luck and fortune. For this reason, popular greeting cards and post cards sold in this era depict different designs with spider as accents. A book published in 1923 by a famous English author named Elizabeth Villiers even labelled the spiders as a "popular Roman design" which is usually engraved in precious stones used to decorate jewelleries and clothes. It was further stated in Villiers' book that spiders are used to symbolize good trade of metals such as silver and gold. However, Villiers also noted that finding spiders at noon does not signify anything; but if the spider is spotted in the afternoon, the person might as well expect to receive a gift that increases in value depending on how late the gift was received. This belief has been supported by so many literatures written in this era, thus making it quite difficult to fully assess whether this is actually factual or not.

Well, of course, to a lot of professionals and amateur weavers and spinners around the world, spiders have always been thought of as lucky creatures primarily because of their natural skills in weaving. However, outside the spinning and weaving world, the association of spiders to fortune has been a result of the famous San Franciscan Club called The Bohemian Club which was founded in the early 1900s. This club has been known to be a popular place for successful local businessmen. The club symbol consists of a spider and the inscription "weaving spiders come not here"; this is probably the reason why many locals associated spiders with the rich and the famous or in simple words, the fortunate.

Villiers account on spiders bringing luck seemed to be supported by a popular verse written by a German mother during the early 1920s where the spiders are said to bring grief and sorrow when seen in the morning, joy in the afternoon and refreshment and nourishments when seen in the evening. It has been widely believed during this era that killing a spider can bring bad luck. This belief is still common among housewives nowadays. In fact, in many countries, many people still think that killing spiders can cause illnesses and other unexpected bad luck from happening.

Nevertheless, the explanation on The Bohemian Club seems to not be enough to explain why spiders have been related to money and fortune. Another popular explanation involves the spider web and its use to most spiders. According to ancient folks, spider webs can resemble the household of a person and the insects caught in the web are all the good opportunities that come to a household. It was believed that wearing an amulet that bears the symbol of the spider can mimic the same effect and attract money and good fortune into the wearer's household. This belief is quite common amongst the Europeans and the African-Americans. In fact, they have these magnetic lodestones used as necklace pendants. The lodestones are said to draw money into the wearer. In the same way, Mexicans also use horseshoe amulets engraved with spider designs to attract good fortune. Well, whether these amulets are indeed effective or not, only the wearers can tell.

As time progresses, the belief on the luck brought about by spiders slowly diminished. The rapid urbanization of most areas in Europe and United States has resulted to more practical options in attracting good fortune: hard work. However, in such a modern-day set-up, there are still those who remain to believe in the power of spiders to bring good luck. For example a popular computer wizard in United Kingdom was quoted to say that she belongs to a family that still holds on to the power of the black spiders to bring forth good fortune. In fact, she still calls them Money Spiders and she would even attest to the effectiveness of such spiders in drawing money into their households.

While it is still very difficult to trace how the association of spiders to money started, it is definite that this belief has been there since time immemorial. Whether this belief is completely based on hearsay and folklore or to some ancient facts, is still a question that can only be answered through further research and study of the past. For now, we can just all content ourselves with the fact that mankind have always been attached to spiders, in many different ways.

To many countries and cultures, spiders have been greatly associated to gods and goddesses. For example, the Romans and the Greeks has Arachne who happens to be a human so good at weaving that she has caught the wrath of Athena or Minerva. To the Native Americans, there's the Spider-woman goddess of the tribe Pueblo Indians who happens to symbolize good luck for the Pueblo Indians too. Now, it becomes clearer that the relationship between spiders and good luck might have rooted from the close connection of the spiders to the deities from the ancient world who are thought to bring good luck to their devotees. Again, whether this has some factual basis, we cannot really tell without spending enough time to study how the people both from the past and in this present age are actually affected by their beliefs.

Nevertheless, the most probable explanation why the belief on spiders bringing forth good luck has diminished in this generation is the increasing number of people who have developed fear of spiders. For some unknown reasons, over the past century, the number of people who has Arachnophobia has increased. Expert suspect that more and more people have become so afraid of spiders because negative mind conditioning. Spiders have been misrepresented in so many movies and other materials mostly seen by kids as they grow up. As a result, these kids grow up believing that spiders are indeed fearsome creatures and they unconsciously develop severe fear on spiders that eventually becomes Arachnophobia.

Common Spiders Found in Georgia (Part II)

Two of the most common spiders found in Georgia have already been discussed in length in the first part of this article series. These two spiders are the crab spiders and the cellar spiders. In this article, we will discuss two other spiders, namely: (1) Crevice Spiders and (2) Fishing Spiders. Just like what we have done in the first part of this article series, we will discuss about the etymology, physical description, habitat, behaviour and venom of these spiders.

1. Crevice Spiders

a. Etymology

Crevice spiders got their name from their tendency to weave their webs in crevices or in corners. The more common name of Crevice spiders is Southern House spider and they belong to the family called Flistatidae which comes from the words Fili and stat. Fili means thread in Latin while strat means stabilizing. In short, these spiders belong to the family that stabilizes through spider webs.

b. Physical Description

Like some other spider species, female Crevice spiders are relatively larger than their male counterparts. Female Crevice spiders measure about 13 to 19 millimetres across their bodies while male crevice spider can be as small as 9 to 10 millimetres. Male and female crevice spiders also differ in color; female crevice siders are usually grey or black while males are amber colored. Female crevice spiders have long abdomens. The reproductive organ of the male crevice spider is normally long and slender just like their legs. They also have a brown stripe pattern close to their eyes that extends towards their abdomen resulting to a violin-shaped pattern. Since most people incorporate the violin-like pattern in the abdomen to the brown recluse spider, many male crevice spiders are mistaken as such.

c. Habitat

Crevice spiders already reveal their habitat through their names. They like staying in doorways and in the corners of buildings. They also like staying in window sills, in overhands and in shutters; for as long as the place resembles that a crevice, Crevice spiders would love being in there. These spiders usually stay on the ground because they feed on insects that crawl on the ground. They build flat and tangled webs on the ground to serve this purpose. Nevertheless, many female Crevice spiders are fond of making webs beneath tree barks while many others build their webs on and in many man-made structures like bridges, houses and barns. Crevice spiders produce a unique kind of silk. Under a microscope, their silk would appear curly or woolly. This is because they tangle their webs using their combed feet. They tangle their webs on purpose. Since their webs are weaved on the ground, crevice spiders tangle their webs to increase its effectiveness in catching prey.

d. Behaviour

Crevice spiders prefer to remain on the underside of the webs that they have weaved. Only the female spiders weave their webs. Male crevice spiders simply wander around in search for a female mate. A mated pair usually, a female and male crevice spider often sticks together and still together, they would flee for safety once they sense threat. After mating, female crevice spiders can lay up to 200 eggs all at the same time. She keeps her eggs in a ball made from her silk, this ball measures about 15 millimetres in diameter. Moreover, these spiders are not really particular with cleanliness and neatness. Their nests are usually left un-kept that debris of dead and eaten insects can remain in the web for years.

e. Venom

These spiders do have venom but because they are so tiny, they excrete very little amount of venom. This amount of venom is not enough to harm humans in any way. However, in very rare cases, their bites can cause a little swelling and redness which usually just disappears after a few days.

2. Fishing Spiders

a. Etymology

These spiders prefer to live in swamps and other moist places; this is probably the reason why they are called Fishing spiders. They belong to the spider groups called Thalssius which is divided into two sub-groups called Pisaurinae and Thalassinae. The first group consists of smaller web spiders while the other one consist of the larger Fishing spiders.

b. Physical Description

These spiders are usually associated to water although they are actually terrestrial. Their sizes range from 8 to 30 millimetres. Fishing spiders do not have a definite color but all of them have colors that are closely related to brown. However, all Fishing spiders have lateral stripes which are cream colored. These stripes extend towards their abdomens; the markings also resemble that of a leaf. Fishing spiders hunt for their food and they depend on their excellent eye-sight to catch their prey. In general, male fishing spiders are short-lived (usually just 12-14 months) while female Fishing spiders can live up to 2 years.

c. Habitat

Their name already explains why these spiders are always associated with water. Thus, they live in places where there is water such as swamps and lakes. They also prefer streams and ponds where water is flowing. They are somewhat over protective of their offspring. They lay their eggs in a spider sac and encase the sac with a nursery web. The nursery web is attached to vegetation and spiderlings usually leave the nursery web after a single or two molts.

d. Behaviour

Fishing spiders are amongst the few creatures in the world that can manipulate surface tension and stay afloat on water surfaces. Moreover, these spiders also have lungs that closely resemble that of an amphibian, allowing them to breathe underwater for about 30 minutes. These spiders are natural hunting spiders and they usually feed on flies and other flying insects. Sometimes, they also feed on tadpoles and small fishes.

e. Venom

Just like most spiders, the venom of the Fishing spider is also not harmful to humans. Nevertheless, their fangs are long and sharp enough to pierce through the human skin and inject venom into the body. Of course, the venom is not deadly to humans but it can cause skin infections and other irritations.
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