Alphabetical Plant Listing


Order Araneae

Spiders are known for their ability to spin webs, which they use for hunting and catching prey. Over 50,000 spider species in 132 families have been recorded by taxonomists. Spiders play an important role in many ecosystems as predators and pollinators, and their webs are also used by scientists to study environmental changes.

Where to find them

Spiders are found worldwide in many habitats, from deserts to forests and from the Arctic to the equator. Some species of spiders are adapted to specific environments and can be found in specific regions. For example:

Desert Spiders: Spiders such as the camel spider and sun spider can be found in deserts and arid regions, where they are able to survive in hot and dry conditions.

Tropical Spiders: There is a great diversity of spider species in tropical regions, such as the rainforests of South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. These spiders include the golden orb weaver and the tarantula.

Arctic Spiders: Some species of spiders, such as the Arctic spider, can survive in the harsh conditions of the Arctic tundra.

Urban Spiders: Many species of spiders have adapted to living in human-made environments, such as cities and towns. These include the common house spider and the yellow sac spider.


Spiders are arachnids, which means they have two main body parts and eight legs. They have a round or oval-shaped cephalothorax (the head and thorax combined) and an abdomen. Spiders have several pairs of eyes, although the number and arrangement of eyes can vary between species. They also have sharp fangs that they use to bite and subdue their prey, as well as venom glands that produce a toxic substance to kill or immobilize their prey.

Spiders are known for their ability to spin webs, which they use for hunting and capturing prey. The webs can vary in size and complexity, depending on the spider species. Some spiders make webs that are orb-shaped, while others make funnel-shaped webs. Spiders also have special adaptations that allow them to move quickly and climb on vertical surfaces, such as strong leg muscles and the ability to secrete silk from special glands.

Regarding behavior, spiders can be solitary or social, and they can be active during the day or night, depending on the species. Some spiders are venomous and can be dangerous to humans, while others are harmless.

Spiders play an important role in many ecosystems as predators, helping to control populations of insects and other small animals.

Life Cycle

The life cycle of a spider typically consists of four stages: egg, spiderling, juvenile, and adult. The specific details of each stage can vary between species, but the general process is as follows:

  1. Egg: Female spiders lay their eggs in silk sacs, which they protect and guard until they hatch. The number of eggs in each sac can range from a few to several hundred, depending on the species.

  2. Spiderling: When the eggs hatch, the spiderlings emerge and are fully formed but much smaller than adult spiders. They molt several times, shedding their skin and growing larger with each molt.

  3. Juvenile: During this stage, the spider continues to molt and grow until it reaches maturity. It also begins to develop the specialized adaptations and behaviors of its species, such as the ability to spin webs and hunt.

  4. Adult: When the spider reaches maturity, it becomes sexually mature and can reproduce. The lifespan of a spider can range from a few months to several years, depending on the species and environmental conditions.

It is important to note that some species of spiders exhibit different life cycles, such as hibernation or diapause, in response to environmental conditions. These variations in life cycles can influence the timing and length of the different stages, as well as the overall lifespan of the spider.

Why a Beneficial Insect?

Spiders play an important role in many ecosystems, and their presence can have various benefits. Some of the ways in which spiders are beneficial include:

  1. Pest Control: Spiders are natural predators and feed on a wide variety of insects and other small animals. By consuming these pests, spiders help to keep their populations in check, reducing the need for harmful chemical pesticides.

  2. Pollination: Some species of spiders are important pollinators, spreading pollen from plant to plant as they move about. This helps to ensure the reproduction and survival of plant species, which in turn supports the wider ecosystem.

  3. Soil Fertility: Spiders play a role in maintaining soil fertility by consuming decaying organic matter and insects that would otherwise break down the soil. This helps to keep the soil healthy and fertile, supporting the growth of plants and other organisms.

  4. Biomonitoring: Scientists use spider webs as biomonitors to study environmental changes, such as air pollution and climate change. The presence or absence of certain species of spiders, as well as changes in their behavior and web-spinning patterns, can provide valuable information about the health of an ecosystem.

Attract this Beneficial Insect to your Garden

Spiders can be attracted to a garden by providing them with the food, shelter, and water they need. Here are some tips to help attract spiders to your garden:

  1. Plant native flowers and plants: Spiders feed on insects, so planting native flowers and plants will help attract insects and provide food for the spiders.

  2. Create a habitat: Spiders need a place to build webs and hide from predators. You can create a habitat by adding piles of rocks, leaves, and sticks to your garden.

  3. Provide water: Spiders need water to survive, so providing a shallow dish or bird bath can help attract them to your garden.

  4. Avoid using pesticides: Pesticides kill both spiders and the insects they feed on. Instead, try using natural pest control methods like companion planting or releasing beneficial insects like ladybugs.

  5. Leave some areas undisturbed: Spiders like to build webs in quiet, undisturbed areas, so try not to disturb the corners of your garden and leave some areas unkempt.

Remember, spiders are beneficial in your garden as they help control pests and pollinate plants. By creating a welcoming environment, you can encourage spiders to make your garden their home.

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Ernie Cooper, Shutterstock

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

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