Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum - Arthropoda
Class - Arachnida
Order - Araneae
Family - Theridiidae
Genus - Latrodectus



Spiders are not insects Because they have some characteristics that are different from insects.
Scientific Info
Scientific Name - Latrodectus
Diet - Carnivore
Size - 1.3cm - 3.8cm (0.5in - 1.5in)
Life Span - 3 years
Conservation Status - Least Concern
Colour - Brown, Black, Red, Yellow
Skin Type - Shell
Favourite Food - Insects
Habitat - Urban, temperate forest and woodland
Average Clutch Size - 250
Main Prey - Insects, Woodlice, Beetles
Predators - Wasp, Birds, Small mammals
Distinctive Features - Sharp fangs and shiny black and red body
Spiders are not insects

Because they have some characteristics that are different from insects.

Amongst the vast numbers of invertebrate animals in the Phylum Arthopoda, more than a million different kinds have bodies with three main parts--head, thorax, and abdomen. The head has eyes, antennae and mouthparts. The thorax has three pairs of legs. The entire body is protected by a tough outer covering called an exoskeleton. Animals that share these characteristics are called insects. The group to which they belong is called the Insecta.

Another, smaller, group of invertebrate animals has only two main body parts. The body consists of a combined head and thorax called the cephalothorax, and the abdomen. The cephalothorax has the eyes, mouthparts (no antennae) and four pairs of legs. Animals that share these characteristics include ticks, mites, scorpions and spiders. The group is called the Arachnida.

There are many different types of spiders one can choose. A couple of common spiders groups you can choose from are jumping spiders, orb weavers, and wolf spiders. The spider groups most suitable for captivity are spiders that can hunt on foot. These include jumping spiders and wolf spiders.



Not all spiders do well in captivity. Active hunters are usually easier to keep than web builders. Here are a few that make good pets.

Tarantulas: Some species exceed 10 inches in legspan. They’re by far the most popular pet spiders and can be bought in pet stores.

Wolf Spiders: Some can be more than three inches in legspan. Large specimens do best in terrariums with lots of floor space.

Jumping Spiders: Although small and rarely exceeding half an inch, their jumping ability is amazing. Many species are brightly colored and can easily be kept in jars.

Fishing Spiders: In captivity, these large spiders appreciate vertically arranged pieces of bark for climbing. They’re very fast, so use caution when capturing them.

Grass Spiders: These spiders build funnel-shaped webs in grass, bushes and on buildings. In captivity, they will build extensive webs inside their cage.

Grooming cage

Large spiders do well in the inexpensive plastic terrariums available from pet stores. Smaller ones can be kept in jars or plastic containers if air holes are drilled into the lid or sides. Be sure the holes are small enough to prevent escape.

Potting soil makes good cover for the cage bottom. Sticks, dead leaves or artificial plants provide structure for hiding, climbing and webbing.

Hunting and feeding

Generally, you should try to feed your spider an insect at least every 2-3 days, although most can probably survive at least a week without eating. Hard-shelled beetles should be avoided. They also don’t care much for pill bugs. They also do not like ants which can pinch them and "inject" formic acid. From my observations, flies and small crickets are their favorite meals. Moths will also work well and like flies, cannot ever harm your spider since they can't bite. I also had one website visitor write in that she had a spider that enjoyed webworms, and another whose spider ate silverfish. If using crickets, you don't want to put in too large of a cricket because they do have the ability to bite. As a general rule, I don't put in crickets that are any more than 1.5X the length of the spider. You may even find that your particular spider has its own individual preferences as far as food choices go. I have found it very interesting to discover that certain pets of mine always sucked out the cricket legs first, while others preferred the head, and still others would start at the abdomen. Some would only eat crickets if they were very hungry and exhibited more of a preference for flies. I had some spiders that seemed to be annoyed by flies and would just kill them to stop them from buzzing around their cage. They didn't even suck out the juices.

In the warm climates, you should be able to catch some flies outdoors with a butterfly net made of fine mesh (cheap kid’s butterfly nets work great). When it gets colder (or if you don’t like the idea of catching your own flies), many pet stores carry “small” crickets. The large ones are usually too big and intimidating for most jumping spiders, but they can easily tackle the small ones. I have had some jumpers who have taken on large crickets, but not many.

To feed your spider, just drop the insect in its cage and wait for it to be pounced upon. When the spider is done eating it, you will want to remove the insect shells so that they don’t stink up the cage.

Cohabitation and mating

It is generally suggested that you have a separate cage for each spider. If you put two females together or two males together, they will most likely fight to the death.

If you are put a male and female together, the outcome can vary. When I have tried to mate spiders by putting them in the same cage, I always make sure they have extra flies and crickets around. Sometimes, even with this precaution, for some reason, the female spider still attacks and kills the male (on some occasions, before even mating with him). If you still want to have two living spiders at the end, it works best to put the male and female together only for a very short period (a few days or less), then separate them after mating has taken place.

Females can store sperm for up to a year, so it is sometimes possible that the female you captured has already been mated and is just waiting for the right time to lay her eggs. This is a reason she may not mate with the male that you set her up with and will attack and kill him instead. You may want to keep her for several months to see if she makes an egg sac on her own.


Spiders breathe with structures called book lungs that are located in the abdomen of the spider (it does not breathe through any structures in its head as some creatures do). These book lungs are much like pages of a book, hence their name. If you put water on the abdomen of a spider, the water could get between the “pages” and it could suffocate. Spiders need very small droplets of water only. If you have a misting bottle, one small squirt of water mist on the side of its cage every few days should be plenty. Otherwise, just drip a few drops on the side of the cage. No puddles, or else your spider could drown.


A spider's body consists of:

a) a cephalothorax with eyes, mouthparts - a pair of jaws and a pair of pedipalps, and four pairs of jointed legs and

b) an abdomen connected to the cephalothorax by a narrow pedicel. The entire body is encased by a tough protective exoskeleton and much of the body has sensory hairs growing from the skin.

Spiders have two body segments, the abdomen and the cephalothorax. The first, or front part, is the cephalothorax, which is formed by the fusing of the head and thorax, according to Jo-Anne Nina Sewlal, an arachnologist at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad. The cephalothorax contains the eyes, mouth and legs.

The mouth has several parts. The spider's jaws, called the chelicerae, are tipped with fangs, according to entomologists at the University of Kentucky. These appendages are used to hold prey while the spider injects venom. Behind the jaws are the labium and labrum, which work together to direct food into the spider's mouth.

Between the chelicerae and the first pair of legs are the pedipalps, which look like tiny legs but are actually similar to antennae, and are used to sense objects the spider encounters, Sewlal said. However, "they are used by some species in prey capture and feeding as well as in shaping their webs."

Pedipalps are also used in mating and are a good way to tell males and females apart. "The tips in males are enlarged as they are used to transfer sperm to the female, while in the female, the tips of the pedipalps remain undifferentiated," Sewlal said.

Most spiders have six or eight eyes, according to the University of Kentucky. Some spiders can only see the difference between light and shadow. Their eyes are considered "simple," as they don't have compound lenses as some insects do.

A spider's abdomen is where most of its important internal organs are located, such as the reproductive system, lungs and digestive tract. Also on the abdomen are the spinnerets, through which a spider produces its silken web.

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