Is there a non venomous spider?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

There is indeed a non-venomous spider known as the Uloboridae. These spiders belong to the family Uloboridae, which is commonly referred to as “cribellate orb-weavers” or “hackled orb-weavers.” What sets them apart from other spiders is that they lack venom glands completely. This means that they do not possess the ability to produce or inject venom into their prey.

Now, you may be wondering how these spiders manage to catch and subdue their prey without venom. Well, the Uloboridae family has developed a unique and fascinating hunting strategy. Instead of relying on venom, they utilize their silk in a highly specialized manner. These spiders construct delicate, irregular, and tangled webs, also known as “hackled” or “spaghetti” webs, which lack the sticky properties of the orb-webs typically seen in other spider families.

The silk produced by Uloboridae spiders has a unique structure called a cribellum, which is a plate-like structure located on the underside of their abdomen. This cribellum is covered in thousands of tiny silk-producing spigots called calamistrums. When the spider walks across its web, it pulls silk from these calamistrums, creating a woolly coating on the web strands. This woolly silk acts like a velcro-like material, effectively trapping small prey such as insects.

I find it fascinating how these spiders have evolved to thrive without relying on venom as a means of capturing prey. It shows the incredible adaptability of nature and the diverse strategies different species can employ to survive and thrive in their respective environments.

It is worth mentioning that while Uloboridae spiders lack venom, they can still deliver a bite if provoked or threatened. However, their bite is generally harmless to humans and poses no significant medical threat. It is important to note that many spiders, even those with venom, are not dangerous to humans and play crucial roles in maintaining ecological balance by controlling insect populations.

To summarize, the Uloboridae family of spiders is unique among arachnids as they lack venom glands entirely. Instead, they have evolved to rely on their silk-producing abilities to capture prey. Their intricate hackled webs, combined with the woolly silk produced by their cribellum, effectively trap small insects without the need for venom. This adaptation showcases the incredible diversity and ingenuity of nature’s solutions to survival challenges.