Are Spiders Insects? (And If Not, What’s The Difference?)
There is a common misconception among people that spiders are insects. In the spring rush of ants, flies, and spiders, they may also be called bugs. As arachnids these scary spiders are scientifically referred to as arachnids, not spiders. In this article you will find the answer of Are Spiders Insects?
Although they are not in the bee family or on the same level as roaches, they still have their classification. Using the terms bug and insect incorrectly is something we should clear up right away. Some people consider everything a bug, regardless of its family.
The bumblebee and wasp are often mistakenly grouped, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Consider how everyone calls a tissue a Kleenex, but it’s a brand, not a product. It’s not the only brand of tissues out there, but people tend to focus on this one.
Scientifically speaking, you might be surprised to learn that not all insects fit into the bug category, but some are insects. Arachnids have four pairs of legs and two body sections, while insects have three pairs of legs and three body sections. Some examples of arachnids are spiders, mites, ticks, and scorpions.
Key Points about Spiders
- A unique key point is a spider’s head and chest are integrated when its abdomen does not split.
- Like insects, spiders don’t usually have separate wings or antennae.
- Arthropods, including insects and crustaceans, include the arachnids.
- Insects and spiders are distant ancestors.
- There are, however, a few differences between spiders and insects. Spiders have fangs and poisonous glands to inject venom, while insects do not. Lastly, spiders have two body parts, while insects have three.
- Spiders are classified as arachnids, members of the arthropod family, which includes 45,000 species worldwide. The most common arthropods are house spiders, mites, scorpions, ticks, wolf spiders, brown recluses, red widows, and tens of thousands more.
- As invertebrates, arachnids have eight legs, no chewing parts in their mouths, and no wings. Spiders use silk to climb, wrap prey, hold sperm, and create parachutes. They even eat silk.
- There are 200 species of spiders whose venom can be harmful to humans. The bite of a spider with a larger tooth can cause more pain. A black widow’s bite can kill someone if left untreated, while most spider bites won’t cause prolonged health issues.
Similarities Between Spiders And Insects
It is quite common for people to ask us, ‘Is a spider an insect?’. Both animals are small, have thin, jointed legs, and tend to dart about somewhat randomly. The similarity between arachnids such as spiders and insects often lies in the fact that they share a common ancestor.
The ancient ancestor of spiders and insects is the Arthropoda, a group of animals that includes arachnids and insects. Arthropods also include crustaceans (animals such as crabs and lobsters), myriapods (millipedes and centipedes), and other groups of invertebrates.
There are certain characteristics that all arthropods share:
Bodies Divided Into Sections
As arthropods evolved from worm-like animals with segmented bodies, they were divided into distinct sections.
The word ‘arthropod’ literally means ‘jointed foot,’ which describes all arthropods as having an even number of legs.
It is common for arthropods to have more than one pair of jointed appendages (see the ‘Additional Appendages’ section further down the page) that have evolved for different functions.
An arthropod is an invertebrate, which means it does not have a backbone.
Arthropods have a hard, protective exoskeleton instead of an internal skeleton to prevent water loss.
It is difficult for an arthropod to grow when its outer skeleton is hard. For this reason, as it grows, it sheds its exoskeleton periodically. Molting (in British English) occurs after an arthropod expands and hardens its exoskeleton after each molt. Arthropods are most vulnerable immediately after a molt when the new exoskeleton is still soft.
Spiders belong to the subcategory of Arachnida, but none of the other arachnid creatures can be labeled as spiders. The arachnid family has these spinners, but they don’t weave webs or spiders. It’s very scientific and confusing, but it’s all about the ability to make beautiful webs.
Among spider weavers, the orb weaver is the one with the dubious honor of creating the most intriguing webs in the spider world. Speaking of web weavers, did you know that the spider orb weaver makes the most intriguing webs? Also, since their eyesight could be better, they mostly make these webs through touch.
Isn’t it fascinating how people, animals, and crawling spiders can thrive and survive when one sense is deficient? Take Stevie Wonder, who played the piano with his sense of touch and sound.
Also read about:
The Differences Between Spiders And Insects
Insects and spiders have many similarities, so what are their differences? What makes an insect an insect and a spider a spider?
Number Of Legs
Count the legs: spiders have eight legs, whereas insects have six. Spiders (and other arachnids) have eight legs, whereas insects have six.
Unlike other insects, spiders have two extra pairs of appendages near their mouths called chelicerae. The lower parts of a spider’s chelicerae are fangs, which, in most species, are venomous.
Its pedipalps are the arm-like appendages on either side of its mouth that help to break up food and transfer reproductive material to the female. This jumping spider has green chelicerae. Its pedipalps are the arm-like appendages on either side of its mouth.
Antennae / Wings
Unlike spiders, insects have an antenna that allows them to smell, which is necessary for staying out of harm’s way. Spiders do not have an antenna, and they cannot smell pheromones. The smell of pheromones is another part of the way insects communicate with each other and protect themselves.
The spider, however, only has enhanced senses during mating season, not during the rest of the year. Since spiders don’t have a sense of smell and lackluster eyes compared to other creatures, how do they navigate? They use their touch sense to guide them, which comes from the tiny hairs on their bodies.
Spiders can detect even the slightest vibration through these hairs, allowing them to identify nearby prey. Another interesting fact is that spiders can sense the darkness of the night from the sunshine, and they prefer to work on their webs at dusk. Have you ever woken up to find a significant web on your porch? Spiders are known for doing their best work at night. They also hunt in darkness, which gives them an edge over their prey.
Number Of Body Sections
A spider’s body has two main sections, whereas three are in an insect’s body.
Arachnids have three main body sections: the head, thorax, and abdomen. All insects have six legs, two antennae, and bodies divided into three main sections.
A spider’s head and thorax sections fuse to form the prosoma, and its abdomen is called the opisthosoma. A spider’s abdomen is equipped with spinnerets, which produce silk for the spider’s web.
Number And Type Of Eyes
A spider lacks compound eyes, composed of many lenses grouped in one larger organ. Insects have up to three simple eyes, better at detecting light than shapes.
The most common spider species have eight eyes, although some have six or fewer eyes. Although spiders’ eyes are more like those of insects, some species have very good vision.
Once a male spider mates, he lays eggs. After the eggs hatch, the female can use the sperm to create offspring. Spiders lay eggs just about anywhere and the eggs hatch in about 2-3 weeks.
Insects go through four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult, but spiders don’t. Spiders also do not undergo metamorphosis like caterpillars and moths. Some insects undergo viviparity, or live birth, which spiders cannot. Various types of spiders lay impressive numbers of eggs each time. Scientists have studied a variety of species and found that this is the most common number of eggs laid by these types of spiders:
- Brown Recluse – 50
- Tarantula – 1,000
- Black Widow – 300
- Brown Widow – 150
- Cellar Spider – 60
In the growth and development phase, spiders also molt. Molting is similar to the molting of snakes. They shed their skin as they grow and develop a more substantial exoskeleton to cover their new bodies. While it is not as complex as the metamorphosis of insects or bugs, it is still a unique characteristic of them.
Are Spiders Insects? Conclusion
Spiders are not insects. They belong to a class of animals known as arachnids, whereas insects are classified as Insects. They differ in many ways, such as the number of legs, body segments, and type of eyes. Spiders have eight legs, two body segments, and eight eyes, while insects have six legs, three body segments, and two eyes.
Arachnids and insects are members of the phylum Arthropoda, called arthropods. Spiders and insects share certain characteristics due to their shared ancestry. Since the two groups of animals diverged millions of years ago, they have developed many characteristics that can be used to distinguish them.