order of arachnids
Victorian Funnelweb Spider (Hadronyche modesta)
Spider web early in the morning

Spiders (order Araneae) are air-breathing arthropods that have eight legs, and chelicerae with fangs that inject venom. They are the largest order of arachnids and rank seventh in total species diversity among all other groups of organisms. Spiders are found worldwide on every continent except for Antarctica, and have become established in nearly every habitat with the exception of air and sea colonization. As of 2008, approximately 40,000 spider species, and 109 families have been recorded by taxonomists.


  • Spiders were around long before humans, and it is likely they will be around in some number far into the future, even if humans are not. When most land and sea animals died out during the Permian mass extinction, spiders survived. Spiders thrived when oxygen levels were both lower and higher than today, when the sunlight hitting the ground was both stronger and weaker, and when plant and animal populations were both greater and smaller. Silk and the evolvable nature of the genes that dictate it have enabled spiders to stake a claim on the land for hundreds of millions of years and they are likely to do so for hundreds of millions of years to come.
    • Leslie Brunetta & Catherine L. Craig, Spider Silk (2010), Chapter 12 "Endless Forms" (p. 190).
  • I've lately had two spiders
    Crawling upon my startled hopes—
    Now though thy friendly hand has brushed 'em from me,
    Yet still they crawl offensive to mine eyes:
    I would have some kind friend to tread upon 'em.
    • Colley Cibber, Richard III (Altered) (1700), Act IV, scene 2, line 15.
  • A spider lowered itself, fathom by fathom, on a perilous length of thread and was suddenly transfixed in the path of a sunbeam and, for an instant, was a thing of radiant gold.
  • The spider's touch, how exquisitely fine!
    Feels at each thread, and lives along the line.
  • The spider hung motionless, like a dull brown gem in an intricate necklace. The web was complete, now, the last strands laid delicately in place; it stretched from one side of the ceiling corner to the other, quivering gently in the rising air as though strummed by invisible hands.
    For a moment Isgrimnur lost the thread of talk, important talk though it was. His eyes had drifted from the worried faces huddled near the fireplace in the great hall, roving up to the darkened corner, and to the tiny builder at rest.
    There’s sense, he told himself. You build something and then you stay there. That’s the way it’s meant to be. Not this running here, running there, never see your blood-family or your home roofs for a year at a time.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical QuotationsEdit

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 745.
  • Much like a subtle spider, which doth sit
    In middle of her web, which spreadeth wide:
    If aught do touch the utmost thread of it,
    She feels it instantly on every side.
    • Sir John Davies, The Immortality of the Soul, Section XVIII, Feeling.
  • Or (almost) like a Spider, who, confin'd
    In her Web's centre, shakt with every winde,
    Moves in an instant, if the buzzing Flie
    Stir but a string of her Lawn Canopie.
  • "Will you walk into my parlour?"
    Said a spider to a fly;
    "'Tis the prettiest little parlour
    That ever you did spy."

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