What are spiders?

Spiders are 8-legged animals with a two part body (cephalothorax and abdomen), biting chelicerae, each with a long fang,  and silk glands (from which the web is made) that open through spinnerets at the end of the body. They have 4 pairs of legs and an extra pair of short appendages (pedipalps) beside the chelicerae.

Spiders breathe with lungs under their body. They feed by turning their prey into liquid and filtering out the bigger chunks with a beard in front of their mouth. The male transfers sperm to the female by a modified structure on his pedipalps. Most cannot see well but "feel" and smell through special hairs on their feet.

As well as having 8 legs, most spiders have eight eyes. The Segmented spiders (Mesothelae, family Liphistiidae) of Asia have the original number of eight spinnerets. Most spiders, however, have only 6 spinnerets, some have only 4 or 2.

Spiders can be divided into two large groups or infraorders:

Diagram comparing the anatomy of Primitive and Modern spiders Spiders can be divided into two large groups or infraorders, with anatomical differences: Primitive spiders (Mygalomorphae) and Modern spiders (Araneomorphae).

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