SPIDERS

   

         Contrary to the 1990 Steven Spielberg movie made popular by John Goodman as the "Exterminator" and Jeff Daniels  as the   "Doctor" most spiders are harmless. The only distinguishable feature is that Spiders have a characteristic appearance   which is  easily recognized by most people. They possess eight legs which immediately separate them from insects, which have  only six legs. Spiders lack wings and antennae. Their bodies have but two regions - a cephalothorax (fused head and thorax)   and an abdomen. Young spiders, or spiderlings, resemble the adults except for size and, sometimes, coloration. All spiders have   a pair of jaw-like structures, called chelicerae. At the end of each is a hollow, claw-like fang. Each fang has a small opening in the   end through which venom is injected into the prey. Spinnerets, located at the tip end of the abdomen, are silk spinning glands   used for web making.                       

      Many species of spiders are common household pests in the United States. Certain common household    spiders spin webs over lamps, in corners and in basements. This creates an unsightly situation but causes no real harm.  Remember that every "cobweb" was made by a spider. Although all spiders use venom when they bite and kill their prey, the black widow and the brown recluse spiders are the only North American species consistently dangerous to humans. Even though there is generally little danger of complications from spider bites, you should advise all spider bite victims   to take the spider specimen with them (if possible) when consulting their physician.

             Under most conditions outdoors,  spiders are    considered beneficial because they feed on insects. However, they are undesirable   to most homeowners when indoors, and the unsightly  webbing spiders use to catch insect prey usually outweigh this beneficial behavior.

                 Many spiders are associated with moisture and, therefore, are found in basements, crawl spaces, and other damp parts of   buildings. Others live in warm, dry places so are found in sub floor air-vents, in  upper corners of rooms or in attics. Most species    hide in cracks, darkened areas, or other retreats which they construct of silk.

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