Spiders are awesome - they can spin webs, climb, swim, dance, parachute and balloon. These arachnids are pretty amazing and here are 10 things you might not necessarily know about spiders…
- Spiders were one of the earliest animals to live on land, about 400 million years ago, making them much older than dinosaurs! When dinosaurs roamed the earth during the Jurassic period (191 – 136 million years ago), orb weaving spiders where spinning sophisticated aerial webs to catch flying insects. We also use amber spider fossils – that is, complete spiders trapped in clear, sticky, tree resins, to show us that spiders like the ones we know today, lived more than 30 million years ago.
- Spiders are called invertebrates because they don’t have backbones. They come from the class Arachnida meaning they have a front body and a rear body, 8 legs, 2 biting or piercing mouth parts and 2 palps. Other arachnids found in Queensland include mites and ticks and scorpions.
- Only about one third of the 10,000 spiders in Australia have been named. Some spiders are threatened species in Australia due to clearing and degrading of bushland. Habitat conservation is essential to maintaining sustainable ecosystems.
- Primitive spiders include trapdoor, funnel-web, wishbone, curtain web, mouse spiders and tarantulas and can live for up to 25 years! While modern spiders including orb-weaving, net-casting, daddy-long-legs, water, fishing, nursery, redback, brown widow, wolf, crab, jumping, huntsman, ant and white-tailed species usually live for 1 or 2 years.
- Spiders can self-amputate to escape a bird or another predator. Some spiders can also regrow their legs when they next moult!
- Spiders are often eaten by hunting wasps seeking food for their young, spider eggs are very nutritious for many wasps, flies and lacewings.
- Spiders also like to eat other spiders, sometimes they eat their siblings, mates or their babies!
- Spiders can be found in Aboriginal art including bark and rock painting, particularly in the Northern Territory of Australia.
- Spiders live in almost every habitat on earth – except for polar regions, high mountains and the open ocean.
- Spiders are an important part of nature – their venom and silk are used in medical research, pest control and fibre technology. Spiders help out by eating lots of insect pests!
Spiders – The Exhibition is on at Queensland Museum from 6 Dec 2019 – 4 May 2020. Explore the fascinating world of spiders, one of the most formidable and often feared creatures in Australia. Discover these impressive creatures as you come face to face with 12 live spider species and 200 spider specimens. You can purchase tickets online here.