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Hunters, Architects and Super Sleuths: 13 Surprising Facts About Spiders

Fun fact: Some tarantulas can live up to 25 years in captivity
Tarantula/Gustavo Hormiga
October 29, 2015
Emily Grebenstein: [email protected], 202-994-3087
Kurie Fitzgerald: [email protected], 202-994-6461
WASHINGTON (Oct. 29, 2015)—Spiders are easily associated with creepy crawlers and witches’ brew, especially at Halloween. But with more than 45,000 known species and a scientific term for the fear they induce (arachnophobia), there is a lot more to the invertebrates. Gustavo Hormiga, the Ruth Weintraub Professor of Biology at the George Washington University, shares 13 surprising facts about spiders. 
Photo credit: G. Hormiga
Gelanor (pirate spider)
This sneaky spider uses mimicry to catch its prey – other spiders – either by imitating the struggles of a trapped insect or courtship vibrations
Some pirate spiders will also steal insects from other species’ webs
Photo credit: G. Hormiga
Theraphosa blondi (tarantula)
Some tarantulas can live up to 25 years in captivity
They include the largest-known spider species and females can be as large as a dinner plate
Tarantulas feed on invertebrates and some small vertebrates including toads and snakes
Photo credit: G. Hormiga
Photo credit: G. Hormiga
These net-casting spiders have the largest single lens of an invertebrate and have 2,000 times the ability of humans to capture light
Deinopis are nocturnal, mimicking sticks to blend in during the daytime
Photo credit: G. Hormiga
Exechocentrus (Bolas spider)
Exechocentrus spiders are extremely rare; there are only two adult specimens known to scientists
To attract moths as prey, Bolas spiders secrete a chemical that mimics moths’ pheromones
Photo credit: G. Hormiga
One of the more than 12,000 species of orb-weaving spiders, Phonognatha produce a chemically sticky silk
Their webs are easily distinguishable because they put a leaf in them to use as a “retreat” or home
Photo credit: G. Hormiga
Patu weave tiny orb webs in the forest floor 
They are the smallest known spider species
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