Spider Evolution

Spider Ancestors

There have been some fossil remains of Spiders found. It is believed that they are at least 300 million years old but it could be as much as 400 million years ago. Today there are more than 40,000 species that have been identified. Discovering what that common link is that they all branched out from though remains a mystery.

It is believed that Spiders evolved from ancestors that are similar in nature to the design of crabs. There is no mistaking that Spiders have been able to create a world of their own. Why do some of them create different looking webs? Could this be an evolution process in order to help them be able to capture the best possible prey in a given environment?

It is believed that the ability to create venom is certainly part of the evolution process. It make protecting themselves and accessing food much easier. Their ability to create silk in order to make webs is also a unique feature that has really been a benefit to them.

Yet not all species of Spiders use the web to capture prey. What occurred that led to many of them doing so? There is a theory about the Spiders needing to conserve energy. Being able to create a web to capture prey was a way for them to stop wasting energy. At the same time they didn’t need to eat as much.

Early fossil remains of the  Spider show that they didn’t have spinnerets, that is something that is only about 250 million years old. This could also have something to do with them needing to be able to further conserve energy.

Changes in evolution allowed them to be smaller and to be able to survive in more diverse locations. Some Spiders are able to live in very dry areas where very little else can live. There are also those that thrive next to the water and they are able to live off of insects there.

Being able to reduce the size also helped them to hide.  Their predators changed as well which could explain why they were able to continue to thrive enough those so many animals from that time period didn’t.

The fact that the Spider is among the most diversified creatures in the world is fascinating. Yet that also gives a tangled web of things to work through in order to find out what has occurred over the span of time for them. A great deal of what circulates out there is merely speculation. Until we find more evidence that we can show as fact the debate and doubts is going to continue.

Still, it can be fun to create your own ideas and theories about the evolution of the Spider. What happened so long ago to make them what we see today. Why are they able to live in so many locations? Even though they are small they are able to create a silk web that is very strong. Why can’t scientists replicate that deign in a lab?

If you want to see an extensive display of fossil remains of Spiders, you need to go to the American Museum of Natural History. It is located in New York and the exhibit is amazing. If you can’t go see it in person, you can certainly read about it in various books and online.  They also have plenty of great information about the evolution of Spiders that you will find to be both interesting and fascinating.

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