Spiders, often feared and misunderstood, are creatures of fascinating abilities and peculiar habits. These eight-legged architects of the natural world possess characteristics that are as intriguing as they are diverse. Here are seven crazy facts about spiders that reveal their extraordinary capabilities and odd behaviors.
1. Hydraulic Legs: Unlike other creatures, spiders don’t rely on muscles to extend their legs. Instead, they use a hydraulic system powered by their blood pressure. This is why a spider’s legs curl up after it dies – the loss of blood pressure leaves them immobile.
2. Aerial Travelers: Spiders can embark on journeys spanning hundreds of miles, using the Earth’s electric field. They’ve been discovered as high as 2.5 miles in the air and 1,000 miles out at sea, showcasing their incredible range.
3. The Art of Seduction: Male spiders often woo their mates by offering gifts wrapped in silk. This clever tactic prevents the female from absconding with the gift without mating. Sometimes, the males even wrap up worthless items, tricking the female into mating.
4. Massive Spider Webs: In a staggering discovery, a wastewater plant in Baltimore, Maryland, became home to a 4-acre spider web, housing an estimated 107 million spiders, or about 35,000 spiders per cubic meter.
5. Ant Impersonators: Over 300 spider species have evolved to mimic ants, a survival strategy known as myrmecomorphy. These spiders use their front legs to mimic ants’ antennae, blending into ant colonies to avoid predators.
6. Urban Growth: Research indicates that spiders in urban environments are growing larger and developing bigger ovaries. The unique challenges of city life seem to be driving significant physical and biological changes in these adaptable arachnids.
7. A House of Horrors: A family in Missouri experienced a nightmare when they discovered their new home was infested with Brown Recluse spiders. An expert estimated a chilling population of 4,000 to 5,000 spiders, emerging en masse from the walls. Although their bites are excruciatingly painful, they are rarely lethal.