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Insects and other arthropods


The spider is an arachnid. Its body, divided into two parts, is equipped with four pairs of legs.
Photo: Insectarium de Montréal (Claude Pilon)
Thomisidae, Québec, Canada.
  • Thomisidae, Québec, Canada.
  • Spider, Québec, Canada.

A spider’s body is divided into two parts: the cephalothorax (combined head and thorax) and abdomen. Spiders have eight legs, while insects have six, and they have neither wings nor antennae. At the end of their abdomen are spinnerets, which produce the silk they use to spin their web, their shelters and their egg sacs. Females are generally larger than males.

Spiders have many simple eyes (often eight) in different places on their head. Most don’t see very well. They orient themselves using sensitive hairs on their legs called trichobothria. Their mouthparts are composed of chelicerae with a hook at the end and palps or pedipalps used to sense and manipulate prey. Spiders are unable to chew or absorb solid food. To eat, they must liquefy their food before ingesting it. They inject digestive liquid into the body of their paralyzed prey and suck out its contents, leaving behind an empty exoskeleton.

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