Arachnid Habitats: Features & Facts

Instructor: Wendy McDougal

Wendy has taught high school Biology and has a master's degree in education.

Arachnids are eight-legged arthropods that include spiders and they can be found in an extremely wide variety of habitats. Who else is an arachnid and where do they live? Read on to learn more.

Highly Adaptable Creatures

Planet Earth is teeming with a wide variety of different habitats. From deserts to grasslands, jungles to forests, unique ecosystems are literally everywhere. And you would be hard-pressed to find many habitats that don't contain arachnids.

A tarantula spider, a well-known arachnid
tarantula

Arachnids are exceptionally versatile and adaptable creatures that have evolved to live just about anywhere. For example, you've likely run into spiders wherever you have lived. But when we say arachnids, we aren't just talking about spiders. In this lesson, we will take a closer look at arachnid habitats and also review who belongs to this group.

What is an Arachnid?

An arachnid is an eight-legged carnivorous arthropod, meaning it belongs to phylum Arthropoda. It has a body divided into two main parts as well as segmented legs, but it has no wings. Many people think the term arachnid is just a fancy word for a spider. Although spiders do make up a majority of this group, several other eight-legged creepy-crawlies are also included.

Ticks, the bloodsucking parasites often found on dogs, are arachnids. So are mites, which are microscopic and visually quite horrifying at that. In addition, the venomous scorpion with its infamous curled tail is also an arachnid. So, where do all of these creatures make their homes?

Spider and Scorpion Habitats

As we mentioned earlier, there are very few places where you won't find arachnids. Spiders, for example, live almost everywhere in the world. From dense forests to open deserts, beaches and urban streets, spiders are literally all over the place. They love nooks and crannies inside the house. They dangle from trees outside, dash across the grass and climb the shrubs.

There is even a spider that lives underwater in lakes and streams. It is the diving bell spider, and it is not part fish, nor does it have gills. It is a clever arachnid that has figured out how to fill a bubble with air and then descend underwater with it. It breathes the air trapped inside the bubble.

The only places you won't find spiders are in extreme settings, such as polar regions and high mountaintops. Spiders also don't live in the ocean, although some make their homes on the water's edge.

A formidable scorpion, another well-known arachnid
scorpion

Scorpions are often associated with desert habitats. This is true; many scorpions are native to the hot, dry desert areas. However, some scorpions also make their habitats in forests and mountains. As long as they have food sources and soil in which to dig, these burrowing arachnids are happy.

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