External Spider Anatomy Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Emily Lockhart

Emily has taught science and has a master's degree in education.

This lesson looks at the anatomy of spiders and how they are unique from other animals on Earth. Spiders are truly fascinating creatures that you will appreciate a little more after learning about their anatomy.

Anatomy of a Spider

Spiderman got his superhero powers because he was bitten by a very special, unique spider. This story is from a comic book, but in real life, spiders are just as special and fascinating. One reason spiders are interesting is their unique anatomy (the structure of their bodies). These creatures have eight legs and two body sections (an abdomen and a prosoma). Let's look closer at these and other features of a spider's anatomy.

1.) Legs 2.) Prosoma 3.) Abdomen
spidersegments

Legs

One of the most recognizable parts of a spider is its set of eight legs. These eight legs are covered in very tiny hairs, and those hairs are so scratchy that itching powder used to be made from spider hairs. These tiny hairs pick up on vibrations and are used like ears to detect prey or predators nearby.

Spiders can smell with their legs too! The legs move like your fingers. If you look closely at your fingers, you will see three distinct segments (or sections). Spiders have seven segments on each leg. Joints, much like your knuckles, move the segments so the spider can bend its legs and walk. At the end of each leg is a very small claw that helps the spider climb.

Prosoma

The legs of a spider are attached to its front section, the prosoma, which contains the head and chest. The prosoma is where you find the spider's eyes, mouth with fangs, and organs, like the stomach and brain.

Spiders have four pairs of eyes, or eight altogether. Spiders see objects as shadows, but they make out images very well from up close. They're very good at killing and eating, using sharp fangs and two arm-like body parts called pedipalps--one on each side of the mouth.

The pedipalps are very sensitive and, like the legs, are used to detect movement by other creatures. Inside the mouth are the fangs, and many spiders use their fangs to inject venom into their victims.

Parts of the prosoma
spiderhead

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