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This week's LabZone activity
May 19, 2004
Spy on a Spider
Many species of spiders live in rainforests. Some are even the same as the ones that live in your area. Spiders are not insects. Insects have six legs, while spiders have eight. Spiders have only two major body segmentsthe head and the thorax are one segment, and the abdomen is the other. Insects have three separate segmentshead, thorax, and abdomen. The last thing that separates spiders from insects is that spiders do not have antennae.
Use this activity to take a closer look at the spiders that inhabit your part of the country.
What You Need
- Clear glass jar
- Some sticks
- A piece of stocking that can fit over the top of the jar
- Rubber band
- Magnifying glass
Joe Snyder/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
What You Do
- Start by searching out some spiders and spiderwebs. Look in the corners of your house and in your garden.
- When you locate a spiderweb, examine it. There are many different types of webs, but the most common one that you will find is an orb (circular) web.
- After you have examined the spiderweb, see if you can locate the spider. Knock it gently into your jar using a stick. Never touch the spider with your hands. As soon as the spider is inside the jar, add a few sticks to the jar and cover the jar opening with the piece of stocking. Secure it with a rubber band.
- Look at your spider. Count its legs. Does it have eight? Spiders have eight eyes. Use the magnifying glass against the jar to see if you can see the spider's eyes. Spend some time watching your spider. It might try to spin a web around the sticks in the jar. Don't keep your spider in the jar for longer than one day because it will need food and water.
- After completing your examinations, return the spider to the place you found it.
Activity excerpted by permission of Independent Publishers Group from Rainforests: An Activity Guide for Ages 69 by Nancy F. Castaldo. Published by Chicago Review Press, distributed by Independent Publishers Group (www.ipgbook.com). Text copyright © 2003 by Nancy F. Castaldo.
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