SPIDER MYTHS DEBUNKED
ARACHNOPHOBIA - NOT!
Spider myths abound! Spiders tend to get a very bad rap. Many of us have a real aversion to them. It could be their hairy legs or maybe just our knee-jerk response to something moving quickly out of the corner of our eye. Or maybe the way they seem to appear from parts unknown and can return just as quickly through the tiniest of holes or cracks.
And, let's face it, no one appreciates walking into a spider's web in a dark and creepy basement or attic!
Have you ever received a bite from some unknown cause and immediately attributed it or had it attributed by a doctor to a spider's bite?
This is one of the more common spider myths and it happens more often than you might think. And yet, it takes an Arachnologist with years of training to properly identify a spider bite. Physicians and even pest control operators rarely get the training needed to do this.
So where does most of this arachnophobia or fear of spiders come from? Is it possible much of the information we have about spiders is really MISinformation? The answer may be a resounding 'YES.'
Below are some spider myths that have been thoroughly debunked by experts and yet still have a way of coming back as truths. It may be enlightening to see how much of this misinformation you may actually have believed!
#1. MOST SPIDERS ARE AGGRESSIVE.
FALSE. This is one of those common spider myths that lives on with the help of scary movies and the media.
The truth is a spider's first reaction to being disturbed or having its web broken will be to run away and hide. Those spiders that live in your house have probably descended from generations of spiders that have never even been outside of the house. The last thing they would want to do would be to attack a human.
#2. SOME SPIDERS ARE POISONOUS TO HUMANS. OTHERS ARE NOT.
FALSE. Almost all spiders have venom. This venom is used as an insecticide to subdue the insects it catches. It is true that some spiders' venom can cause localized pain in humans but the wasp is far more dangerous and can actually cause death in some individuals.
Of the some 50,000 or more spider species in the world, only about 25 have venom that could cause some discomfort to humans. In any given area, there will be zero to 3 of these spiders.
Scientists are now researching the use of spider venom in medicine and as non-polluting insecticides.
#3. SPIDER BITES CAN CAUSE INFECTIONS AND OTHER DANGEROUS MEDICAL CONDITIONS.
UNTRUE. Spider bites are actually quite rare. If you have a bite and cannot find an offending spider or some reliable connection of that bite to a spider, a spider bite should not even be considered.
Certain spiders such as black widows and brown recluses can give serious bites to people that require medical treatment. This is true.
However, these spiders are not aggressive and rarely bite. If they do, they usually don't inject venom. Yet, misinformed reports will claim they are deadly.
This, in itself, can lead to inappropriate medical treatment at the worst or the risk of exposure to toxic pesticides to rid the area of spiders.
#4. YOU CAN ALWAYS TELL A SPIDER BITE BECAUSE THERE WILL BE 2 PUNCTURES.
SOMEWHAT TRUE BUT MOSTLY FALSE. Spiders have 2 venom-injecting fangs and will typically bite with both at the same time.
The difference is, in any spider smaller than a tarantula, the entry points of the 2 fangs will be so close together there is very little if any visible separation. The fangs are so slender and sharp that the actual entry points are all but invisible.
It is also true that a bloodsucking insect can be the cause of a bite as well, since they will usually bite twice.
#5. SPIDERS ARE INSECTS
FALSE. They belong to the class of arachnids. There are many differences between spiders and insects. Spiders have only 2 body parts, no wings or antennae, 8 simple eyes, 4 pairs of legs, and an unsegmented abdomen. Insects have 3 body parts, 4 wings (or 2 or none), 2 antennae, 2 compound eyes, 3 pairs of legs, and a segmented abdomen.
Mites, ticks, and scorpions, as well as harvestmen, known as 'Daddy Longlegs,' as well as others are also arachnids.
All spiders are arachnids but not all arachnids are spiders!
To find out what other myths are untrue, as well as an explanation of why these myths are so widespread and are usually taken as 'common knowledge,' as well as photos of some common and not so common spiders, please continue reading here.