|Copyright: Luis Leal (Luis52)
|Date Taken: 2007-10-08|
|Camera: Nikon D80, Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro|
|Exposure: f/8, 1/160 seconds|
|Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2007-10-12 18:10|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Spiders are predatory invertebrate animals that have two body segments, eight legs, no chewing mouth parts and no wings. They are classified in the order Araneae, one of several orders within the larger class of arachnids, a group which also contains scorpions, whip scorpions, mites, ticks, and opiliones (harvestmen). The study of spiders is known as arachnology.|
All spiders produce silk, a thin, strong protein strand extruded by the spider from spinnerets most commonly found on the end of the abdomen. Many species use it to trap insects in webs, although there are also many species that hunt freely. Silk can be used to aid in climbing, form smooth walls for burrows, build egg sacs, wrap prey, and temporarily hold sperm, among other applications.
All spiders except those in the families Uloboridae and Holarchaeidae, and in the suborder Mesothelae (together about 350 species) can inject venom to protect themselves or to kill and liquefy prey. Only about 200 species, however, have bites that can pose health problems to humans. Many larger species' bites may be quite painful, but will not produce lasting health concerns.
Spiders are found all over the world, from the tropics to the Arctic, living underwater in silken domes they supply with air, and on the tops of mountains. In 1973 Skylab 3 took two spiders into space to test their web-spinning capability in free-fall.
(1) four pairs of legs
(3) opisthosomaSpiders, unlike insects, have only two body segments (tagmata) instead of three: a fused head and thorax (called a cephalothorax or prosoma) and an abdomen (called the opisthosoma). The exception to this rule are the assassin spiders, whose cephalothorax seems to be almost divided into two independent units. Except for a few species of very primitive spiders (family Liphistiidae), the abdomen is not externally segmented. The abdomen and cephalothorax are connected with a thin waist called the pedicle or the pregenital somite, a trait that allows the spider to move the abdomen in all directions. This waist is actually the last segment (somite) of the cephalothorax and is lost in most other members of the Arachnida (in scorpions it is only detectable in the embryos).
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