Fall in love with spiders
Published: 30 October 2008
This Halloween why not get up close and personal with some our our least popular animals as BugLife, the UK's invertebrate conservation trust, launches the 'Love Spiders' campaign?
A photograph of the garden spider, Araneus diadematus.
Spiders are some of the least popular invertebrates but are also some of the most beautiful and interesting. There are some 650 species of spider in the UK and between them they eat millions of insects and other invertebrates every year. Spiders are therefore extremely important in controlling pest insects.
Other fascinating spider facts:
- There is a species of spider (Argyroneta aquatica) that lives under water. The spider constructs a small, silk chamber under water and then collects air from the water surface amongst its body hair. The spider then swims down to the small chamber, where the air is trapped allowing the spider to live underwater.
- Some spiders reach new habitats by extending silk from their abdomen into the air. The wind catches the silk and carries the spider aloft and off to new areas. This is called ballooning.
- Few invertebrates can eat woodlice as they are protected by tough plates. However, there is a specialist woodlice predator called the woodlouse spider (Dysdera crocata) which has evolved long fangs. These fangs are long enough to reach under a woodlouse and pierce its soft underside.
The Amateur Entomologists' Society is a member organisation of BugLife. Further details of the 'Love Spiders' campaign can be found on the BugLife Web site.
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