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"Spiders": A Mini Report For A High School Biology Class

887 words - 4 pages

SpidersTurf and Abiotic Factors:Spiders are found worldwide, except for in the oceans, and they live in all habitats and at most elevations.Height and Size:Spiders range in size from less than 1.0 mm (0.04 in) to more than 10 cm (4 in) in length, with a leg span of up to 20 cm (8 in).Body Structures:A spider's body is divided into two parts: the front portion, called the prosoma or cephalothorax, and the rear portion, called the opisthosoma or abdomen. A narrow stalk called the pedicel connects these two parts.A hard shell called an exoskeleton covers the entire body of a spider. The exoskeleton is made of cuticle, a material composed of a combination of protein and tough fibers called chitin. The cuticle forms thin layers stacked on top of one another, an arrangement that improves the strength and elasticity of the exoskeleton. The spider's cuticle provides attachment sites for many muscles, and it also prevents desiccation (loss of body water). The cephalothorax cuticle is strong and stiff, while the cuticle of the abdomen is soft and extensible. As a spider grows, it sheds or molts its exoskeleton and grows a new one to cover its larger body.Life Span:The life cycle of the spider consists of four stages: egg, larva, young spider, known as a nymph or spiderling, and adult. Like insects, spiders grow only by molting, a process that involves periodically shedding their exoskeleton. In each molting stage, young spiderlings resemble tiny adults, a process known as incomplete metamorphosis.Most spiders live only 1 or 2 years. An exception are large female tarantulas, which can live up to 20 years. Male tarantulas live only 2 to 3 years. Many male spiders die soon after mating.Diet:All spiders are carnivorous (feeding mainly on the flesh of other animals). Spiders eat insects and sometimes other arthropods (invertebrate animals with jointed limbs, segmented bodies, and hard shells known as exoskeletons), including other spiders. Scientists often divide spiders into two types: web spiders and ground spiders. Web spiders produce webs to capture prey, while ground spiders hunt prey directly without using a web. Almost all spiders use poison glands to kill or paralyze their prey or to defend themselves.Reproduction:Spiders become sexually mature after their last molt, at which time females have developed functional ovaries and males have mature testes. In most spider species the male courts the female before mating occurs. After a male spider has filled its palps with sperm cells, he begins searching for a female. A male begins by identifying himself to a female so that she does not mistake him for potential prey. In some spiders,...

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