Bug Blog

The Spiders That Spit Venom!

Every person has their ups and downs in life. Generally, a person’s own personal fortunes and misfortunes come as a result of his/her association with other people. This is why exercising effective anger control strategies and cultivating socially desirable habits is essential for a person’s happiness in life. Of course, rather than cultivating empathy and goodwill toward others, a person may simply choose to spit on his/her opponents during conflicts. There are very few acts of hatred that are more offensive than spitting on another person. While most people would choose to be spat on as opposed to being beaten to a pulp, there is something undeniably venomous about spitting on another human being. This statement is quite literally true when it comes to one group of odd spiders. While most spider species are outfitted with fangs that inject venom into their enemies, the Scytodidae genus of spider prefers to spit on their enemies. If you think that being spat on as a human is unpleasant, then you would certainly hate to live as a Scytodidae spider, as the substance that they spit from their mouthparts is also venomous. Basically, spiders of the Scytodidae genus infect their enemies with venom in a manner that could be considered the complete opposite of what is normal for venomous spider species.

The Scytodidae genus is more commonly referred to as the “spitting spiders” for reasons that should be more than obvious by now. These spiders are unusual for a number of reasons, each one of which is nothing short of fascinating no matter how boring you may typically find spiders. For example, spitting spiders eject a deadly substance from their venom glands at a rate of 28 meters per second. This miraculous spitting-speed makes it nearly impossible for this spider genus’ prey to successfully dodge the deadly venom. Also, the spit travels in a zigzag pattern before making contact with prey. As you can imagine, this erratic trajectory makes it difficult for this spider’s prey to maneuver in the right direction in an effort to successfully evade the venomous spit. This venom is also particularly sticky. In fact, so far, scientists know for sure that this venom, at the very least, is designed to glue prey in place so that spitting spiders can consume their prey while not having to wrestle them in place. It is not yet known if this sticky venom also works to kill prey externally.

Have you ever heard of any arthropod species that transmits venom to prey in any way other than through bites?