Arachnids are mostly carnivorous. They feed on the pre-digested bodies of insects and other small animals.
That alone is enough to consider them threatening. Of course, humans could never be considered a small animal as far as a spider is concerned, but that doesn’t change human fear.
Being as small and nimble as they are, spiders can sneak onto our skin any time, any place, and we know it.
It doesn’t help to know that there are over 40,000 named species.
Wikipedia says 100, 000, but I don’t want to cause panic. How many no-names are out there is anybody’s guess.
The good news? Spiders help to control insects.
Spiders are predators, they eat only live prey that they catch them selves, and they eat phenomenal amounts of insects. And they are in fact the dominant predators of insects, and without them we’d be in dire straits. In many cases most of our crops, for example, would be totally destroyed by the insects that already do take a large toll on our crop production, but the spiders help control them.
That means we owe spiders. We should be grateful to them for their voracious appetites (and grateful that it doesn’t include us).
My Spider Woman does not accurately portray a spider, but that’s the feeling I got as I created her.
And just for fun, here is a video about some ASU researchers who were awarded $420,000 by the Department of Defense to study spider silk proteins. The hope was that they could produce it synthetically on a larger scale. There may be a lot of spiders, but they still produce silk on a rather small scale.
That was in 2012. Did they or anyone else) succeed? Read this and find out. Or this: a Munich firm claims to have developed synthetic spider silk that is “more flexible than rubber and more durable than steel.”
Frank Lloyd Wright admired spiders, if this quote is any indication:
Organic buildings are the strength and lightness of the spiders’ spinning, buildings qualified by light, bred by native character to environment, married to the ground.