Spider Quiz Tests Gardeners’ Knowledge

Spiders are an important part of our ecosystem, but some people find it difficult to get past their creepy appearance to fully appreciate them.

Spider Engraving

Colorado is home to hundreds of species of spiders, but only one is considered potentially dangerous—the western widow spider (Latrodectus hesperus).

In spite of this, many have a fear of spiders that ranges from the “eeek” factor to petrifying arachnophobia. This aversion may come from spiders’ daunting looks, stories about their poisonous bites, or images lingering from movies about eight-legged radioactive monsters.

Despite their reputation as loathsome creatures, spiders are one of the landscape’s best friends. We might be up to our knees in pests if it weren’t for our eight-legged helpers.

Gardeners can encourage spiders to live in their yards by planting a layered landscape that offers many different attachment points for webs, adding mulch for hiding places and by refraining from indiscriminate use of toxic chemical pesticides with integrated pest management methods.

Fellow garden blogger, Carol O’Meara, says arachnology is her thing and reading is believing. Check out her Gardening After Five blog post about spider love and you’ll never look at spiders the same way again.

Test Your Spidey Sense

In the spirit of the season, here’s a True or False Quiz to test your spider knowledge based on information gleaned from a CSU Extension Fact Sheet called Spiders in the Home. (Answers follow at the bottom of this page.)

  1. Daddy-long-legs are the most poisonous spider, except their fangs are too small to pierce human skin.
  2. Spiders are often the most important biological control of pests in gardens.
  3. Despite their name, wolf spiders are normally shy and not dangerous to humans.
  4. Jumping spiders can jump long distances while hunting their prey.
  5. The Dysdera crocata uses its long fangs to feed on pillbugs and other hard-bodied prey.
  6. The orb-weaving spider, known as the banded garden spider, uses a large symmetrical web to snare its prey.
  7. All widow spiders are black and have a red or red-orange marking on the underside of their abdomens.
  8. Funnel web spiders look like the brown recluse spider and are just as dangerous.
  9. Black widow spiders are nonaggressive and rarely bite, unless provoked, usually by accidentally sitting on one.
  10. From a biological standpoint, it is rarely necessary to control spiders.

Spider Quiz Answers

  1. False. Daddy-long-legs are not true spiders and do not have poison glands.
  2. True.
  3. True.
  4. False. Jumping spiders are active hunters, stalking and pouncing on their prey; however, they are only able to jump short (1/2 inch) distances.
  5. True.
  6. True.
  7. False. The overall color of the female is black, although immature stages and males may have brown, red, and white markings on the back.
  8. False. Funnel web spiders, also known as grass spiders, are often mistaken for the brown recluse, but are harmless to humans.
  9. True.
  10. True.

Well, how’d you do on the quiz? Please post a comment and let me know what you like best about spiders.


 

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Comments

Thank you thank you thank you for telling people the only spider they have to worry about here is the black widow! Your blog is a breath of fresh air.

Glad to be of service!

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