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wolf spider eyes

Wolf spider eyes, photo by Anxo Resúa,
licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

KidZone Spider Facts
The Body of a Spider

Spiders have two body segments.  The front segment is called the Cephalothorax.  The spider’s eyes, mouth fangs, stomach, brain and the glands that make the poison are on this part of the body.  The legs are connected to this part, as well.  Most spiders have eight eyes, but some have less.  Spiders also have these tiny little leg-ish things called ‘pedipalps’ that are beside the fangs.  They help to hold prey while the spider bites it.

body of a spider
Can you identify all the body parts
on this Wolf Spider?

The second part of the body is called the Abdomen.  The back end of the abdomen is where the spinnerets, the silk producing glands, are.  The spider’s body has an oil on it to keep the spider from sticking to it’s own web.

Spider’s legs are covered with many hairs.  The hairs pick up vibrations and smells from the air.  At the end of the legs are, at least, two small claws.  Spiders have 48 knees.  Yup, count them…eight legs with six joints on each.

Spiders do not have a skeleton inside their bodies.  They have a hard outer shell called an ‘exoskeleton’.  Because it is hard, it can’t grow with the spider.  So young spiders need to molt, or shed their exoskeleton.  The spider must climb out of the old shell through the cephalothorax.  You can imagine how hard it must be to pull all those legs out! They are pretty helpless at this point.  Once they are out they must stretch themselves out before the new exoskeleton hardens.  This gives them a bit of growing room.  As adults, they stop growing and do not need to molt.

Male spiders are usually smaller than females.


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