From living underwater, to building architectural marvels, Here are ten of the coolest spiders on Earth.
- Silkhenge Spider
In June 2012 A graduate student from the Georgia Institute of Technology discovered a tiny mysterious structure under a tarp while studying at the Tambo Pata research center in Peru. It looked like a miniature cotton tower, surrounded by a white picket fence made of the same mysterious substance. Because of the structures resemblance to Stonehenge it was dubbed Silkhenge and seemed to defy scientific explanation. After consulting with several experts, and even posting the image on Reddit in an attempt to find any information on it, people could only make guesses as to what it was or why it was there. Researchers and Students Teamed up To Discover What mysterious organism had built Silkhenge. One of the first hypotheses was that the miniature tower held spermataphores – packages of sperm and food that males would place, to attract a female. The small fence around the sack was later presumed to be a defense mechanism against ants and mites as well as a trap designed to ensnare the curious insects as a meal for the female or her children. National Geographic revealed that the creature that had built the picket fence, was actually a spider. The scientists placed several of the structures under glass and after several months three silkhenges had each produced a single spider-ling from the center of each henge Experts were baffled as to why there was only 1 egg in each structure because it is extremely rare to find spider eggs not laid in a group Each sample had been found miles apart from each other. This new species of spider was dubbed the Silkhenge spider and you have to admire it’s architectural genius.
- Net Casting Spiders
These long slender spiders are known for their unique method of catching prey The Net Casting Spider is easily recognized by its spindly legs and three rows of large round eyes on the front of its face. Because of this they are also known as the Ogre Faced Spider. While these bulging eyes and strange facial structure may be a little unnerving, They’re designed specifically for the nocturnal species to be able to see and hunt in the dark Like the Roman gladiators who trapped their opponents with nets, these guys prepared intricate web that looks like a fish net that it will hold by the four corners with its four front legs This silk net has 400 to 600 percent stretch capacity and looks like a relaxed rubber band The spider will give it a few tugs then hang upside down, waiting for its prey. When the spider detects something, it will launch itself forward, Snapping the net on its prey, and smothering it. If the spider has a bad day and doesn’t catch anything, It is either eaten, or hung on a nearby branch to use for another day.
- Mirror Spider
This Spider Found in Australia is covered in silver plates that expand to become an almost uniform reflective surface. With cousins in Asia, it is also known as the Sequined spider With reflective, silvery patches that change shape depending on if the spider feels threatened. While these reflections might seem to attract predators like a disco ball, it seems to be doing the opposite effect. The different mirrors probably scatter light and make it difficult for predators to see it. The spider’s shimmery spots are probably crystalline deposits comprised of Gaunine, a waste product produced by gut cells called guanocytes according to retried biologist Ron Atkinson. There at least 21 known spider species that can rapidly change color through the use of guanocytes.
- Goliath bird eater
Tarantula Found in the rain-forests of northern South America, the Goliath Birdeater is the largest spider in the world. Also known as the Goliath Bird-eating spider, it can grow to nearly a foot across with fangs an inch long Like its name suggest it has been found to eat birds, although that’s not it’s main diet Its size allows it to eat all kinds of small animals such as toads, insects, lizards, small rodents, and even snakes. The most dangerous thing about the Goliath Birdeater is its ability to flick urticating hairs from its body at any creature it perceives as a threat The tiny, almost invisible hairs that it sends floating through the air are extremely irritating and can be serious if they get embedded in your eyes and mouth Another fascinating thing about these spiders in their ability to make noise. When feeling threatened, the Goliath Birdeater is capable of making a pretty loud hissing noise by rubbing bristles on its legs together. Called stridulation, it can be loud enough to be heard up to FIFTEEN feet away. Some of you may have heard of the albino tarantula that hit the internet and although it is cute and furry, it isn’t real.
- Camel spider
Also known as the wind scorpion or sun spider, this spider is actually not an arachnid but a member of the Solifugae order, which in Latin means “those that flee from the sun”. They live in many deserts around the world and hunt at night time while hiding from the sun during the day. While they do look ferocious, they don’t actually eat camels. The urban legend goes that these spiders would live on a camel’s belly and disembowel them. This probably comes from the camel spider trying to hide from the sun in the camel’s shadow. There are also many cases of the spider chasing humans which is pretty terrifying if you’re minding your own business and suddenly you hear pitter-patter behind you The poor creature’s just trying to stay in you shade So if you run, it will chase after you to chase the shade. It’s not trying to be creepy on purpose. If you just stand still it will stay next to you in the shadow that you cast. The fastest species of camel spider can reach up to 10 mph over a short distance. Unlike spiders, these guys breathe with a trachea which allows for fast oxygen intake. The camel spider eats bugs, lizards, small birds, and rodents just like the Goliath but it is not venomous. When it seizes its victim it will turn it to pulp by chopping or sawing the bodies with their jaws. According to National Geographic, these spiders have long been the stuff of legends in the Middle East and became famous in the West during the Gulf War in the ’90s and then later during the Iraq War in 2003. Forced perspective pictures made it look like they were as big as a soldier’s LEG, however in reality they could easily be squashed under your shoe.