All About Arachnids

Spiders, scorpions, and other creepy, crawling arachnids have the power both to frighten and delight. Yet these creatures are also a vital part of the food chain and contribute to the health of our planet. Let’s learn all about arachnids!


           Arachnology is the study of arachnids. Scores of societies and university professors are devoted to learning about arachnids — their life cycles, potential medical benefits, and more. If you want to study arachnids in more depth, here is are some great places to start:

All About Scorpions – information scorpions with a special focus on Arizona

American Tarantula Society – Non-profit group devoted to education about spiders and other arachnids

Arachnid Internet Mailing Lists – several mailing lists devoted to the study of Arachnids

Arachnology at the Burke – Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture exhibit page on Arachnids

British Arachnological Society – British scholarly society devoted to the study of arachnids

Insect and Spider Collections of the World – details all known spider and insect collections in the world

International Society of Arachnology – international scientific organization devoted to the study of arachnids

Journal of Arachnology Online – online journal of the American Arachnological Society

Modern Arachnology Library – Cornell University bibliography of major works for arachnological study

Smithsonian Spider Page – information on spiders from the Smithsonian

Spider Images – pictures of all kinds of spiders

Spiders on the Web – photos of spiders, focuses on Orange County, California

Spinnerets – brief information on the web-spinning spider organs

The Strength of Spider Webs – explains the strength of a spider’s webbing

World Spider Catalog – taxonomy and other detailed information on spiders all around the world, may encourage kids to become entomologists, (vets), or other professionals who may deal with animals and arachnids


           Did you know that arachnids include spiders, scorpions, ticks, and more? Scientists have classified arachnids into eleven different orders, and each order has its own peculiar characteristics:

Acari – ticks and mites

Amblypygi – tailless scorpions

Araneae – spiders

Opiliones – daddy longlegs and harvestmen

Palpigradi – tiny whip scorpions

Pseudoscorpions – they may look like scorpions, but they are not

Ricinulei – hooded spiders

Schizomida – arachnids with flagella

Scorpiones – scorpions

Solifugae – wind scorpions

Uropygi – whip scorpions


           Arachnids have been the inspiration for all sorts of poems, literature, heroes, toys, and more. Their effect on people is truly fascinating, and many resources tell us about the effects of spiders on the mind, body, and culture:

Arachne – details on the myth from which the term arachnid comes

Arachnet – page on spiders designed for kids in grades 6–9

Charlotte's Web Activities – activities for students that tie into the book Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Creepy Crawly Things – list of books on spiders and insects, and many of them have encouraged kids to want to work in an animal hospital

Neuroscience for Kids – webpage for kids on the effects of brown widow spiders

Scorponok – images of the Scorponok toy based on the Transformers scorpion-based character

The Spider and the Fly – famous poem by Mary Howitt

Spider Lesson Plans – teachers’ resource for teaching about spiders

Spider-Man – official homepage for Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man

The Web – Toonopedia’s article on Archie Comics’ hero the Web

Using the Eentsy-Weentsy Spider Song – video suggesting ways teachers can use the “Eentsy-Weentsy Spider”

When Spiders Attack – listing of spider-based films and reviews


           Spiders are remarkable creatures indeed, but some are more fascinating than others. Have you ever heard about or seen any of these unusual types of spiders?

Black Widow Spiders – facts on the North American black widow spider

Brown Recluse Spiders – life and distribution of brown recluse spiders and first aid for their bites

Funnel Spiders – spiders often found in open fields and around buildings

Hays' Tarantula Web Pages – all about tarantulas, who often inspire pet owners to seek out veterinarians when they bite their cats and dogs

Jumping Spiders of Kentucky – page on the jumping spiders of Kentucky

Kansas Orbweaving Spiders – all about the common orb-weaving spider, with a particular focus on spiders in Kansas

Wolf Spider – brief information on the wolf spider