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The Myths of Spiders: Busted

Updated: Jul 1, 2021

Author: Jiayi Chen

Editor: Megan Liu

Artists: Daisy Zheng

Although they may seem like it, spiders aren't insects. Like most insects, spiders seem like insignificant creatures that are everywhere: in furniture, boxes, or even door cracks. People may be startled by these little creatures, and some might even feel horror and disgust toward them. But, what are spiders, what do they do, and are spiders really harmful?

Spiders are intriguing creatures that weave webs and inject venom to prey on small invertebrates. Like insects, spiders belong to the phylum Arthropoda. All spiders are composed of eight legs, two body segments, and a waist. Spiders have an exoskeleton and flexible membrane on their joint which allows for mobility, so they have to molt many times until their maturity for their exoskeleton to follow up their growth. Spiders produce thin, tough, and silk-like protein chains from their abdomen to trap the prey, usually in the structure of webs. As predators, spiders trap their prey in their web, liquefy their prey, and use their chelicerae to consume the liquid. Most life cycles of spiders are only about one year. During their life cycle, spiders lay and hide their eggs after the winter, which allows them to develop into adults by summer.

Even though all spiders are venomous, most spiders are not harmful because they are not poisonous enough to kill you. Spiders are perceived as dangerous, but spiders can be beneficial for humans. For instance, spiders are natural predators of pests in your house. They prey on cockroaches, mosquitos, earwigs, and moths. Instead of chemical pesticides, you can use spiders to consume and rid most of the pests at home. In addition, spider venom is useful for medical purposes such as treating arthritis and certain heart ailments. Moreover, spiders also prevent many types of diseases carried by pests.

In conclusion, spiders are helpful creatures to rid your household of pests, and keeping them in your house can be beneficial. Most people’s instinct when they see a spider is to kill it, but since spiders are beneficial to the environment, they should be released outside to help regulate the insect population.



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