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News Story
Updated: 06/18/2014 12:20:18AM

Web weavers and other spiders

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY JERRY WATERS

The golden silk spider is found throughout Florida and the southeastern United States. The female is distinctively colored, and is among the largest orb-weaving spiders. This spider with a large orange and brown body feeds primarily on flying insects, which it traps in its web built high in the tree tops or across waterways. The web strands are golden, and this spider is also called the banana spider.

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY JERRY WATERS

The spiny-bellied spider is one of our most colorful and easily recognized spiders. The common name for this spider in parts of Florida is “crab spider.” The body is shaped like a crab shell and is white with black spots and large red spines. It is not related to any of the families of spiders commonly called crab spiders for their crab-like walk.

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY JERRY WATERS

Not all spiders spin webs. Some, such as jumping spiders or wolf spiders actively search for or stalk their prey. They normally move quietly and fairly slowly, but are capable of very agile jumps when hunting or in response to sudden threats.

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY JERRY WATERS

Spider webs are carefully constructed to trap insects. There may be as many as 30 loops of a sticky viscous liquid, all carefully spaced. Some spiders, such as the black and white garden spider, adorn their webs with tufts of silk in a zigzag pattern that may prevent birds from flying into them.

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PHOTO PROVIDED BY JERRY WATERS

Spiders are predaceous insects and serve a vital function in controlling insect populations. Over the course of their life they consume many insects. The orchard spider is common in Florida.


By KAREN SMOKE

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Spiders can bring on waves of terror to those who fear them. But while all spider species have venom-injecting fangs, only a tiny minority are able to pierce human skin and inject venom — and of those, only a few are any danger to humans.

Spiders differ from insects in that they have eight legs, and they do not have antennae and never develop wings. Arachnida is the class name. Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders. If you go out of your way to ensure that you do not come in to contact with a spider, scream at the sight of these creatures, or avoid activities such as camping, you may have this phobia.

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