These arachnids are common in houses and yards across the country. Some spiders spin webs near outdoor light sources or among boxes in basements, while others hunt for live insect prey around baseboards and closets.
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Biology & Behavior
Spiders are a group of animals classified as arachnids. They are not insects, instead being more closely to related to mites and ticks. Spiders are characterized by having 8 legs and the 2 distinct body regions of the cephalothorax and abdomen.
All spiders feed only on insects and other small arthropods. Their activities are highly beneficial since they help control many pest species in yards and in and around homes. Unfortunately, there is a widespread fear of spiders by people.
Spider fears also exist because of a few poisonous species such as the black widow. Many spider species occur throughout Utah. They begin life as eggs laid in egg sacks that are bound by silk. These egg sacks may be guarded or even carried by the female. The young spiders, known as spiderlings, emerge from the eggs and scatter. Many spiders disperse by ballooning. This occurs by spiders producing silken threads that are caught by the wind. Although they do not have wings, spiderlings have been carried hundreds of miles on wind currents. The developing spiders feed and grow over a period of several months. Spiders molt several times before becoming fully grown.
Many common spiders have one generation per year and become full grown in late summer. However habits vary and mating and egg laying can occur during almost any time of the year depending on the species.
All spiders can produce silk. Many of the more conspicuous species build webs to capture prey. Some spiders do not produce a web, but instead hunt their prey. These spiders ambush prey and use their silk for building eggs sacks or retreats. Spiders eat live prey. Victims are killed by venom that the spider injects through fangs.
Spiders may survive for months without food. Most species of spiders found in homes are attracted to water sources. Water pipes, floor drains, and plumbing fixtures commonly attract spiders. Some spiders prefer warm, dry, undisturbed sites and can be found in vents or room corners. Spiders found indoors often hide in cracks, darkened areas, or silken retreats they have built.
Movement of spiders into homes greatly accelerates after cool weather arrives in early fall. Also, male spiders of most species are often highly mobile and range widely while searching for mates.
Although all spiders bite and produce venom, few pose any health threat. The venom of most spiders is not very toxic to humans and many smaller spiders cannot break the skin. Also, spiders are not usually aggressive and only bite when accidentally handled or trapped. Two poisonous species of spiders do occur in Utah, the black widow and the hobo spider.Type your paragraph here.