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How Well Do You Know Your Pet Spider?

By: Dr Gareth Evans - Updated: 26 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Spiders Spider Pets Arachnid Crustacean

There’s no doubt that spiders can make great pets and many of them seem to have surprisingly strong personalities for such simple animals – which just goes to make them all the more appealing.

OK, so you’re definitely a spider fan, but can you tell a Mexican Red-Knee from a Chilean Rose at a glance and do you know your spinnerets from your urticating hairs?

Take our quick 8 question quiz to find out how much you know about this fascinating group of animals – the answers are at the bottom.

Good luck.

1. First things first – which group does your spider belong to? Is it:

  • a) An arachnid?
  • b) An insect?
  • c) A phasmid?

2. Now we’ve got that settled, which of these creatures is your spider’s closest relative?

  • a) Crab
  • b) Scorpion
  • c) Woodlouse

3. Some spiders have very well developed sight; how many eyes do most kinds of spiders have?

  • a) 2
  • b) 8
  • c) 16

4. How long have tarantulas been known to live in captivity?

  • a) 1 year
  • b) 3 years
  • c) 25 years

5. Can you name the largest spider in the world?

  • a) The Goliath
  • b) The Megamouth
  • c) The Patu

6. No prizes for knowing that spiders have 8 legs, but how many joints do they have?

  • a) 16
  • b) 32
  • c) 48

7. Why is that spider in your bath?

  • a) It’s come up the plughole in search of warmth.
  • b) It’s probably a male house-spider out searching for a mate – and fell in by accident.
  • c) It’s a female needing a drink after egg-laying.

8. And finally – what about those spinnerets and urticating hairs?

  • a) Spinnerets are used in making silk; urticating hairs are a type of defence mechanism.
  • b) Spinnerets help the spider spin out of its old skin; urticating hairs help it find its way around.
  • c) Spinnerets help the spider find its way around: urticating hairs are used in making silk.

Quiz Answers

1. The answer’s (a) an arachnid – named, or so the story goes, after a mythical Greek weaver Arachne. She claimed that she could weave better than the goddess Athena herself, but when the goddess rose to the challenge and won, the boastful girl was turned into a spider – leaving her descendants still weaving webs to this day.

into a spider – leaving her descendants still weaving webs to this day.

2. It’s (b); crabs and woodlice are both crustaceans, but the scorpion is another arachnid. Mites and ticks are also in this group.

3. A typical spider has 8 eyes, arranged in 2 rows of 4 – so it’s (b).

4. The answer’s (c) 25 years; most spiders only live for a year or so, while some survive for 3 or 4, but tarantulas are the real ‘oldies’ of the spider world.

5. It’s (a) The Goliath Bird-eating Spider Theraphosa blondi is widely accepted as the world’s largest, growing to the size of a dinner-plate. The Megamouth is a kind of large shark, and with a body smaller than the head of a pin in males, Borneo’s Patu digua is the world’s tiniest spider.

6. Each leg has 7 segments which makes 6 joints; 6 x 8 = 48; the answer’s (c).

7. The answer is (b); male house-spiders go looking for mates and often fall off walls and ceilings into baths and once there, they’re trapped. The coming up the plughole thing is a very old myth!

8. It’s (a) spiders use spinnerets to spin silk, while the tarantulas found in North and South America defend themselves with urticating hairs, which they kick off their backs towards potential attackers. Urtica is the Latin for a stinging nettle – hence the name given to these irritant hairs.

So how did you do? Are you a real eight-legged expert, or are you in need of a quick crawl around a different sort of web to find out some more about these intriguing creatures?

However you did in the quiz – have a great time looking after your spider.

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