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With over 40,000 species, spiders are one of the planet’s most diverse and interesting creatures. They can be found on all continents except Antarctica.

Spiders are classified as arachnids, not insects. Insects have three pairs of legs, arachnids four. Insects have three body segments, archnids two. Like insects, they have an external skeleton, but unlike insects do not have wings or antennae. Most have four pairs of eyes. All spiders produce silk although not all produce webs. All arachnids are not spiders, (the class includes ticks, mites, and scorpions), but all true spiders are sub-categorized in the order Araneae. But Arach-Attack sounds better than Araneae-Attack.

Spiders are typically predators that have fangs used to inject a poison that either paralyzes or kills the prey. Spiders cannot digest solids. The Orb weavers shown here and are typical of those that inject digestive enzymes into their prey and then suck out the pre-digested liquified contents leaving behind a husk which is discarded.

Arach-Attack!

Slideshow: Introducing our subject

As I was watching and preparing to get another shot, I saw the spider eject the husk from the web. Luckily, it fell on concrete. After being very careful where I stepped, and after a very careful search, I was able to find it. Nothing I did altered the physical appearance. Placed on a plain white paper napkin so that the napkin’s texture can be used to guage the actual size, here are some views of the remnants from different angles.

before-and-after-photo

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Digestion & Absorbtion

Before and After

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Not the same specie of fly, but convenient to show before-and-after scale.

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This was the broken handle of a rusted-out cheap broom you might find in the local dollar store. I was using it as a stake in a large potted plant. The spider built its web attached to this stake and another I had in a pot about 4 feet away. Spooked by my very close presence, the spider disappeared into the handle for shelter. I had to quietly wait quite some time for it to cautiously emerge.

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