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Insects and other arthropods

Spiders

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Generally, the female spider lays her eggs in a silk bag. She carries it with her (1) or hides it in her environment (2). Depending on the species, the female will produce one or several bags. The eggs hatch a few weeks after laying (3), or the following spring in species that spend the winter in this form.
Photo: Insectarium de Montréal (Claude Pilon)

Spiders, like scorpions, pseudoscorpions and mites, are part of the Arachnida class. There are around 40,000 species of spiders in the world, including 700 in Quebec. Specialists estimate that there are many other species that have yet to be discovered.

Life cycles

Spiders’ life cycles vary by species. These arthropods do not undergo metamorphosis. Young spiders, called spiderlings, are simply a smaller version of the adult. Like insects, growing spiders shed their “skin” during moulting. The exoskeleton peels off the spider’s back, and the spider uses its legs to pull it off. The number of moults varies according to species.

Ecological roles

Spiders are voracious predators and consume large quantities of insects. By feeding on insects, they keep populations from getting too large, providing a form of biological control in many different natural and agricultural environments. By extension, they play an important role in pest control.

Habitat

Spiders are present everywhere in nature. However, many species live inside houses and buildings. Spiders that live near humans, using their gardens as habitats or nesting areas, are called synanthropes.

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