The spider is not a bug nor an insect – spiders are arachnids, as they have a distinct body structure without wings. They belong to the same group of animals as ticks and scorpions.
Bugs and insects are known for having three main body parts: the head, the body and the legs with wings, and the abdomen. Arachnids, on the other hand, have only two body parts: the cephalothorax (head and body) and eight legs.
Arachnids live mainly on land and cannot fly, unlike bugs and insects that have wings and are capable of flying.
However, arachnids and insects belong to the same larger group of animals called Arthropods.
Is a Spider an Arachnid?
Yes, spiders belong to the group of animals called arachnids.
Bugs are found all over our houses, and are often an annoyance to many people.
That’s why many people like to often include spiders to the group of bugs or insects. However, spiders don’t have the same features as bugs or insects, which means they belong to a separate group of arachnids.
Even though they’re separate animals and they belong to different sub-groups of animals, they still belong to the same family of animals – Arthropods.
The family of Arthropods is a very diverse group of animals.
In it, you’ll find scorpions, flys, bees, spiders, centipedes, and even lobsters. The main feature of all Arthropods is that they all have an exoskeleton and a segmented body with multiple limbs, and some arthropods also have wings.
Arthropods also don’t have bones – instead, they have a strong shell that protects them, which is also known as an exoskeleton. Thanks to this skeleton, arthropods survive harsh conditions and use the skeleton to repel attacks from other animals. The material that this exoskeleton is made from is called chitin.
However, because the family of Arthropods is so diverse, there are many subgroups of animals in this group:
- Arachnids (Spiders, scorpions)
- myriapods (centipedes)
- crustaceans (crabs, lobsters, shrimp)
As you can see, insects and spiders both belong to the main family of Arthropods, but they belong to a different sub-group of animals altogether inside that main family of animals.
Let’s take a look at the key differences between spiders and other insects.
Differences Between Spiders and Insects
With the help of these distinguishing features, it will be much easier for you to understand the differences between bugs, insects, and spiders.
1. Insects Have Wings, Spiders Don’t
One of the key differences between spiders and insects is that spiders don’t have wings. Most insects, on the other hand, have wings.
Spiders move around with their eight legs, which makes them much faster on the ground than insects, but have a slight disadvantage when they combat insects in the air.
However, spiders gain a significant advantage with their webs as they look to trap insects when they fly into the web.
Spiders have a cephalothorax, which is made from its head and main body, and they also have eight legs. Insects, on the other hand, only have six legs often, and they have wings which they replace their legs with.
2. Spiders Create Webs
Another major difference between insects and spiders is that spiders will create webs to move around and catch their prey, while insects don’t.
With these webs, spiders make it easy for themselves to move around in the air. A spider has the ability to produce a lot of silk in a short period of time, allowing it to create complex webs that they can use to move around and trap other animals.
The web also acts as a protective shield and another barrier of protection against other potential enemies of spiders.
3. Spiders Eat Insects
Both insects and spiders are carnivorous in nature, although some insects also rely on a herbivorous diet. However, spiders are larger than insects and thus, will eat them from time to time.
Spiders, especially larger spiders, will trap insects like ants and eat them. They like to eat flies and other flying insects that come into their webs and become trapped.
Spiders are carnivores and insects form a large portion of their diets. They have developed advanced hunting techniques that allow spiders to easily trap insects and eat them as their main source of food.
4. Spiders Can’t Smell as Well as Insects
Spiders don’t have a sense of smell that is so well developed as the sense of smell of insects.
Sure, they can still distinguish some smells from the environment, but their sense of smell is not nearly as sophisticated as it is with insects.
Spiders use scent-sensitive hairs on their bodies to detect smell. However, the sense of smell is not one of their primary survival mechanisms, and it’s not used for communication. Instead, spiders rely on their strong sense of touch and sense of vibration they can also detect with hairs on their bodies.
They have their sensory organs located on their legs but also on their bodies.
These hairs are spotted all over a spider’s body and are used to detect vibrations all around them, which gives them a good sense of location and it gives them a slight advantage over insects that are flying around them.
A spider doesn’t have ears and has an especially strong eyesight as well, as there are some sources that indicate that spiders might have an eyesight to rival the eyesight of humans.
To conclude, spiders and insects are not the same species. Spiders are arachnids, which is a subgroup of arthropods, which is a larger group of animals that also includes insects as well as spiders.
Despite the fact that spiders and insects belong to the same family of arthropods, there are some key differences between the two: spiders don’t have wings, and they create webs to trap insects and eat them. However, their sense of smell is not as well developed as with insects, although they use other senses such as vibrations and eyesight to compensate.