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© Contributed by Leanne Guenther
Spiders belong to a group of animals called “arachnids”. Scorpions, mites, and ticks are also part of the arachnid family. Arachnids are creatures with two body segments, eight legs, no wings or antennae and are not able to chew. Many people think that spiders are insects but they are mistaken since insects have six legs and three main body parts. Most insects have wings.
Arachnids belong to an even larger group of animals called “arthropods” which also include insects and crustaceans (lobster, crabs, shrimp, and barnacles). This is the largest group in the animal kingdom! Approximately 80% of all animals are from this group…that would be over a million different species! There are more than 30 000 different species of spiders.
All spiders are predators and many will eat other spiders. Scientists have found spiders in amber (Did you watch Jurassic Park?) that dates back to about 2 million years. Because spider’s skeletons are quite small and fragile it is difficult to find whole fossilized spiders.