Gallery - pictures
Tarantulas - 229 photosTarantulas are spiders belonging to the family Theraphosidae. They are characterized by having tarsi (feet) with two claws and claw tufts, called scopulae. When people who knew about the tarantulas emigrated to the Americas and discovered fearsomely large and hairy spiders in the New World, they bestowed the name "tarantula" on them. Those spiders belong to the Suborder Mygalomorphae, the Family Theraphosidae (Greek for thera "wild animal, beast" + phos "light") and the Family Dipluridae. They can be quite large. Tarantulas can be kept as house pets. Common species are Chilean rose hair tarantula and Mexican red-knee tarantula. A terrarium with an inch or two of damp vermiculite or a mixture of soil and sphagnum moss (but not with cedar shavings as they are toxic to many spiders) on bottom provides an ideal habitat. (Burrowing tarantulas will require a much deeper layer.) Tarantulas can be fed a variety of living animals (insects, small mice, small fish in the water bowl, and reptiles are on their menu). Read more..
Tarantula mating - 22 photosThe habit of male spiders wandering in search of mates makes them especially visible. In late summer and early autumn (September and October in the northern hemisphere), the males will leave their hiding places and walk about, hoping to encounter the hiding place of a female with which to mate. They are willing to cross roads and trails in this quest, and that is when they are most likely to be observed. When the mature male encounters the burrow of a female, he will draw the female out and signal his intentions to mate by vibrating his body and tapping his front legs. If the female is receptive to mating, she will vibrate and tap her legs also. After mating, the male must get away quickly, or it is possible that he will be eaten. A female tarantula who is unreceptive to mating may also eat the male if he attempts to mate. This result, however, is less common among tarantulas than other spiders. Certain species of tarantulas have been known to mate multiple times over the course of several weeks.
Tarantula egg sacks - 26 photosAs with other spiders, the mechanics of intercourse are quite different from those of mammals. Once a male spider reaches maturity and becomes motivated to mate, it will weave a web mat on a flat surface. The spider will then rub its abdomen on the surface of this mat and in so doing release a quantity of semen. It may then insert its pedipalps (short leg-like appendages between the chelicerae and front legs) into the pool of semen. The pedipalps absorb the semen and keep it viable until a mate can be found. When a male spider detects the presence of a female, the two exchange signals to establish that they are of the same species. These signals may also lull the female into a receptive state; if so, the male approaches the female and inserts his pedipalps into an opening in the lower surface of her abdomen. After the semen has been transferred to the receptive female's body, the male will generally quickly leave the scene before the female recovers her appetite.
Females deposit 50 to 2000 eggs, depending on the species, in a silken egg sac and guard it for 6 to 7 weeks. The young spiderlings remain in the nest for some time after hatching and then disperse by crawling in all directions. Read more..
Scorpions - 38 photosScorpions are an invertebrate animal with eight legs belonging to the order Scorpiones in the class Arachnida.
The scorpion body is divided into 2 main segments: the cephalothorax and the abdomen. The cephalothorax consists of the prosoma, and the abdomen of the mesosoma and the metasoma. All species of scorpion possess venom. In general scorpion venom is described as neurotoxic in nature. It consists of a variety of small proteins as well as sodium and potassium cations, which serve to interfere with neurotransmission in the victim. Scorpions use their venom to kill or paralyze their prey so that it can be eaten; in general it is fast acting, allowing for effective prey capture. Scorpions generally reproduce sexually and all species have male and female individuals. Reproduction is accomplished by the transfer of a spermatophore from the male to the female; scorpions have evolved a complex courtship and mating ritual to effect this transfer. Unlike the majority of Arachnida, scorpions are viviparous. The young are born one by one, and the brood is carried about on its mother's back until the young have under gone at least one moult. Read more..
Whip scorpions - Uropygid and Amblypygi - 3 photosA uropygid, commonly known as a whip scorpion, is an invertebrate animal belonging to the former order "Uropygi" in the class Arachnida, in the subphylum Chelicerata of the phylum Arthropoda. They are also known as the vinegarone or vinegaroon (in Spanish, vinagrillo) because when agitated they can spray a vinegar-like mist.
The name of the order should be properly Thelyphonida (a typified name), because the circumscriptional name Uropygi Thorell 1882 originally includes the "Tartarides" (now Schizomida) and should be used instead for the name of a broader group (which is also a well-recognized clade) including the Thelyphonida + Schizomida.
Amblypygi is an order of invertebrate animals belonging to the the class Arachnida, in the subphylum Chelicerata of the phylum Arthropoda.
Amblypygids are also known as tailless whip scorpions (see also whip scorpion). The name "amblypygid" means "blunt rump", a reference to a lack of the telson ("tail") carried by related species. Read more..
Solifugae - 4 photosThe order Solifugae is a group of arachnids, containing around 900 species. The name derives from Latin, and means those that flee from the sun. The order is also known by the names Solpugida, Solpugides, Solpugae, Galeodea and Mycetophorae. Their common names include camel spider, wind scorpion, and sun spider.
Solifugae are not true spiders, which are from a different order, Araneae. Like scorpions and harvestmen, they belong to a distinct arachnid order.
Solifugae are carnivorous or omnivorous, with most species feeding on termites, darkling beetles, and other small arthropods; however, solifugae have been videotaped consuming larger prey such as lizards. Prey is located with the pedipalps and killed and cut into pieces by the chelicerae. The prey is then liquefied and the liquid ingested through the pharynx.
Reproduction can involve direct or indirect sperm transfer; when indirect, the male emits a spermatophore on the ground and then inserts it with his chelicerae in the female's genital pore. Read more..
Cockroaches - 9 photosCockroaches are insects of the order Blattodea (the name Blattaria is also seen). The names of the order are derived from Greek blatta, meaning "cockroach". There are roughly 3,500 species in 6 families. Cockroaches exist worldwide, with the exception of the polar regions and in elevations above 2,000 m (6,500 ft). The earliest cockroach-like fossils are from the Carboniferous period between 354-295 million years ago; however, these fossils differ from modern cockroaches in having long ovipositors and are apparently the ancestors of termites and mantids as well as modern cockroaches. In fact, current evidence strongly suggests that termites have evolved directly from true cockroaches. The first fossils of "modern" cockroaches with short ovipositors appear in the early Cretaceous. Mantodea and Blattodea are included by some entomologists together in a single order, Dictyoptera. Read more..
Millipedes - 14 photosMillipedes (Class Diplopoda, previously also known as Chilognatha) are very elongated arthropods with cylindrical bodies that have two pairs of legs for each one of their 20 to 100 or more body segments. These animals are herbivorous, slow and nonvenomous; unlike the somewhat similar and closely related centipedes (Class Chilopoda), which can be easily distinguished by their single pair of legs for each body segment. Most millipedes eat decaying leaves and other dead plant matter, moisturizing the food with secretions and then scraping it in with the jaws. Read more..
Centipedes - 8 photosCentipedes (Class Chilopoda) are fast-moving venomous, predatory, terrestrial arthropods that have long bodies and many jointed legs. Chiefly nocturnal, centipedes are found primarily in tropical climates but are also widely distributed in temperate zones.
Some species are highly venomous and often produce very painful bites but (despite Ian Fleming's famous use of dramatic licence) only one human death has ever been recorded - from a bite on the head of a young child by a large centipede on a Pacific island - though severe reactions have also occasionally been recorded in adults. Read more..
Other spiders - 3 photosSpiders are predatory invertebrate animals that have two body segments, eight legs, no chewing mouth parts and no wings. They are classified in the order Araneae, one of several orders within the larger class of arachnids, a group which also contains scorpions, whip scorpions, mites, ticks, and opiliones (harvestmen). The study of spiders is known as arachnology.
All spiders produce silk, a thin, strong protein strand extruded by the spider from spinnerets most commonly found on the end of the abdomen. Many species use it to trap insects in webs, although there are also many species that hunt freely. Silk can be used to aid in climbing, form smooth walls for burrows, build egg sacs, wrap prey, and temporarily hold sperm, among other applications. Read more..
Beetles - 10 photosBeetles are one of the main groups of insects. Their order, Coleoptera (meaning "sheathed wing"), has more species in it than any other order in the entire animal kingdom. Forty percent of all described insect species are beetles (about 350,000 species), and new species are regularly discovered. Estimates put the total number of species - described and undescribed - at between 5 and 8 million. This is why, when J. B. S. Haldane, a British geneticist, was asked what his studies of nature revealed about God, he replied, "An inordinate fondness for beetles". Read more..
Insect - 5 photosInsects are invertebrate animals of the Class Insecta, the largest and (on land) most widely-distributed taxon within the Phylum Arthropoda. Insects comprise the most diverse group of animals on the earth, with around 925,000 species described-more than all other animal groups combined: "Indeed, in no one of her works has Nature more fully displayed her exhaustless ingenuity," Pliny exclaimed. Insects may be found in nearly all environments on the planet, although only a small number of species have adapted to life in the oceans where crustaceans tend to predominate. Read more..
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