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Uploaded:2015-09-09
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A SciShow Kids viewer wants to know more about spiders so she’s not afraid of them anymore. And know what? They’re not scary! They’re awesome!

Special Thanks to The Missoula Insectarium for letting us film their beautiful Orb Weaver. Check them out! http://www.missoulabutterflyhouse.org/
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SOURCES:
http://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/Araneidae/
http://www.caaspp.org/rsc/pdfs/activities/ELA_Spiders-and-Insects_CA.pdf
http://www.explorit.org/science/spider.html
[Intro]

Jessi:  Hi guys!  We just came across this spider web, but look how pretty it is.  You might know some kids, or adults, that get kind of nervous, or even afraid around spiders.  In fact, one of our four year old viewers is kind of afraid of spiders too, but she know exactly what to do.  

She wrote us and said, "I want to learn about scary spiders so that I am not afraid of them anymore."  That's a great attitude.  Knowledge is power.  So let's all see what we can discover about spiders.  

One thing that you should know is that spiders have a really important job to do.  They eat lots of small, little insects, like mosquitoes, gnats, and house flies.  So, if spiders weren't around to do their jobs, then there would be a lot more of these pesky insects around.  

Speaking of insects, some people think that spiders are a kind of insect, but that's not true.  You might remember how you can tell an insect from other kinds of animals.  Insects have six legs and they have three main body parts, a head, a thorax, and an abdomen.  Plus, they sometimes have other body parts, too.  Like wings to help them to fly around, and antennae to sense their surroundings.  

Now, spiders are different in a lot of ways.  For one thing, they only have two body parts.  They have an abdomen, but instead of having a head and a thorax, they have just one other body part, with the two put together, called a cephalothorax.  And maybe the easiest way to spot a spider is that they always have eight legs, and they don't have wings or antennae.  

Here's another fun fact about spiders.  Spiders have different kinds of eyes than insects do.  Insects have really complicated eyes called compound eyes.  They're made up of thousands of little lenses that work together so the insect can see, but spiders have simple eyes with just one lens, just like you and I do.  So, you actually have something in common with spiders.  

But, if you've ever seen a picture of a spider up close, you might have noticed that spiders have more than two eyes.  Most of them have eight eyes.  

One kind of eight eyed spider is called the jumping spider.  These spiders have some of the best vision of any spider in the world.  Their eight eyes make them able to see almost the whole way around their bodies.  But jumping spiders do something else very well too, and I bet you can guess what it is.  They jump!  Some of these spiders can jump up to 50 times the length of their own bodies.  If you could do that, you'd be able to jump over twelve cars in a single leap.

But, these spiders are careful jumpers.  They always stick a piece of silk, called a dragline, to whatever they are jumping from.  So, if they happen to miss whatever they're jumping for, they won't fall. Clever spiders.

Jumping spiders are quite smart, and really, kind of cute, but they don't do something that lots of other spiders do.  They don't spin fancy webs.  

For the most beautiful webs around, you should keep an eye out for spiders known are orb weavers.  The word "orb" means "round", and that's the shape we see in an orb weaver's web--a nice, pretty circle.  The silk that orb weavers, and other spiders, use to make their webs comes from special body parts called spinnerets.  

Most spiders have six of these spinnerets and they use them to spin different kinds of silk.  Each kind is for a different job.  Some of the silk that the orb weavers use is sticky.  So that when an insect flies into its web, it gets caught in these threads.  

But, orb weavers also make a silk that isn't sticky.  When they want to walk around on their own webs, they keep their eight feet on those special threads.  Then the spider can get to its prey, and wrap it up in another kind of silk until it's ready to eat it. 

Now that you know more about them, we hope you feel better about our friends, the spiders.  So the next time you see a spider, take a few minutes to watch it, so you can learn more about it.  You can also learn more by reading books and of course, asking questions.  

Thanks for joining me on SciShow Kids.  You're always welcome to ask us about anything that's on your mind.  Just get your parent's help and leave a comment below, or email us at kids@thescishow.com and we'll see you next time.