There are a lot of species in the family of hayfire spiders - more than 1,800. Their main distinguishing feature is very long legs, so it seems as if this spider consists of almost only legs, because its body itself is small. Because it is often called the centipede. Haymaker spider very often settles in apartments, almost everyone saw them.
Origin of view and description
Photo: Haymaker Spider
The evolution of arachnids has been studied relatively poorly. It is known that they have inhabited our planet for hundreds of millions of years, and their most ancient ancestors became the first marine creatures to climb the land and adapt to life on it. Their most important evolutionary acquisition was the web.
Gradually, spiders found more and more uses for her, and other creatures even learned to fly to escape from them and their webs. Nowadays, very ancient species of spiders cannot be found, since they are constantly changing, and new species are replacing the old ones.
So, the family of hayfire spiders formed “only” 0.5-2 million years ago - by the standards of evolution, this is indeed a very short time period. How exactly the development of hayfire spiders took place, from whom they came from, has not yet been reliably established, their research continues.
The name of the family in Latin is Pholcidae. It was described by K.L. Koch in 1850. In total, 94 genera are attributed to it, and about 1,820 species at all - and still continue to discover new ones, because most of them live in the tropics, often in poorly populated, remote regions of our planet.
Over the past two years, B. Huber has described dozens of genera, including hundreds of species living in different parts of our planet: Arnapa in Indonesia and New Guinea, Muruta and Nipisa in Malaysia, Pemona in Venezuela, Magana in Oman, and so on. .
This shows how much work remains to be done by the scientific community regarding spiders in general, and the family of hayfire spiders in particular: even a description of their species is far from complete, not to mention building a clear picture of evolution - the foundation on which further study should be based.
Appearance and features
Photo: Haymaker spider in nature
Depending on the type in which the haymaker spider belongs, the features of its structure can vary significantly. First of all, the differences relate to its small body: in some species it is well divided into the cephalothorax and abdomen, in others the division is not so obvious, in some it is elongated, and in others it is spherical - and so on.
The sizes can vary greatly - you can usually find individuals with body sizes without taking into account the legs from 2 to 12 mm. Moreover, although elongated legs are considered the main distinguishing feature of the family, their length is also very different in reality, and in some forest species they are no longer than the calf.
But still, all such spiders living next to a person have very long legs - this is how they can be easily recognized. From other common features it is worth highlighting that these legs have four pairs, and the same number of eyes. However, the species of pairs of eyes that live in the caves is one less.
Males are inferior to females in size of the calf itself, but at the same time they have longer legs. In addition, their pedipalps also differ, but this can not be considered with a simple eye.
Interesting fact: Hay spiders are named for their resemblance to ordinary hayers - they are often confused. In fact, hayfields do not belong to spiders at all, and therefore do not weave a web. They also do not settle in houses, you can usually see them in meadows and fields, as well as in bushes.
Now you know whether the haymaker is a poisonous spider or not. Let's see where he lives and what he eats.
Where does the haymaker spider live?
Photo: The poisonous spider haymaker
Almost the entire globe enters its habitat zone; they are not present only in the coldest places of the earth — the Arctic and Antarctic. Everywhere where a person lives, these spiders are also able to inhabit, they are in Greenland, and in the most northern populated areas of Russia beyond the Arctic Circle.
But this applies to the inhabitants of residential buildings and apartments, in nature they prefer to live in warm places, it is difficult for them to endure winter frosts. Therefore, in the wild there are a lot of them in the tropics and subtropics, and much less in temperate latitudes, but they do not occur in cold areas.
Even in homes in the north, they are less common - although still pretty often. In nature, they like to settle in caves, other crevices and holes in trees or the earth, old ruins of buildings. In inhabited houses and apartments they prefer places warmer in the corners or behind batteries - in general they like warm and dry.
An interesting fact: To move on their long legs, and very adroitly, a haymaker spider can due to the fact that this combines mechanical and hydraulic principles. Leg bending occurs due to muscle contraction, but they bend for a completely different reason - due to the injection of hemolymph.
This mode of transportation saves energy. The work of the legs of the haying spider is so interesting that science-fiction writers come up with mechanisms with the same principle of action, and scientists and designers are eager to create such mechanisms and actually create them - it is possible that they will still appear.
What does the haymaker spider eat?
Photo: Dangerous haymaker spider
The basis of its menu is insects.
They very efficiently exterminate the living creatures that fall into the apartment, and do not allow it to breed - this is very useful. But there is an obvious minus to their presence in the house - the network. They are very extensive in hayfire spiders, and therefore highly noticeable. One spider can enfold a whole corner, and then set about the next. Often their networks are located on the ceiling.
The network is not sticky, the whole calculation is that the prey that got into it will get confused, and this will give the spider time to attack it. He usually goes hunting after sunset. The victim is barely on the net as he approaches and further entangles her, using long paws.
When she can neither dodge nor attack in response, the haymaker spider bites her, injecting poison - for the person he poses no danger. When the victim dies, a digestive enzyme is injected into it, after which its tissues become soft gruel, which it absorbs.
And even the particles remaining in the body of the prey's body are also able to eat: he tears them off with the help of the chelicera, and then grinds the processes on the front legs and also eats. If something remains after the meal, he takes the food away and stores it for the future - after all, day after day, sometimes no one gets into his network for a long time.
A hungry spider sometimes even begins to rush to its prey, which simply appears next to the web, but does not become entangled in it - in these cases, hunting can be dangerous for itself, because sometimes the prey can be stronger and more agile than it is.
Often you have to starve in the winter, because the living creatures become much less. Then the hayers begin to feed on other spiders, including fellow tribesmen or their eggs. Other spiders are hunted differently: a haymaker spider pulls their cobwebs to lure, and then pounces. Of course, this is dangerous: the outcome of the battle may be different.
Interesting fact: If the prey is too large and its getting into the network is undesirable, the haymaker spider shakes the network so that it can be clearly seen, and potential prey could avoid it. And even if she’s already caught, but still remains too dangerous, he can bite some threads himself so that she could break out.
Features of character and lifestyle
Photo: Spider Centipede
A lot of spiders from this family of synanthropes, that is, they accompany humans and are almost never found in the wild, they adapted to live in houses and apartments, where they are much more comfortable and safer, because they are reliably protected from many predators.
They are active all year long - in the winter they continue, as if nothing had happened, to weave cobwebs, trying to catch insects, although they become much smaller, sometimes they even lay eggs at this time of year. This is due to the fact that initially the spiders of hayfields appeared in the tropics, because the seasonality factor did not matter to them.
Days are spent in dark corners, motionlessly hovering in their cobwebs - hiding from the sun, because they do not like its rays, despite the love of heat, and just relax, gaining strength. The period of activity for them is in the dark. While people sleep, these spiders can actively move around the apartment in search of prey.
Although hayfire spiders can starve for a long time, their patience is not unlimited, and if there is no prey in the house for a long time, they just leave it - usually this happens a month and a half after starvation, and go to more "bread" places. Therefore, regular cleaning and removing various kinds of midges will help him get rid of them.
Social structure and reproduction
Photo: Haymaker Spider
Spiders become sexually mature after about a year, during which they shed five times. After that, the males begin to develop a secret for fertilization and look for a female. Having found its web, the male attracts attention: for this, stepping on the network, begins to shake.
When the female leaves, he palpates her with his front legs, letting him know that he is ready for mating. Indeed, in another case, the female may try to attack him - do not forget that cannibalism is not alien to these spiders. However, mating only postpones its attack: immediately after its completion, the male should run.
If he is too weak during mating and cannot escape, then the female will eat him. Therefore, each mating is very dangerous for the male, and most often they fertilize no more than two or three females in their lives. But the females live much longer, because no one tries to kill them after mating.
Eggs are usually several dozen, up to fifty. At the same time, the female does not build a cocoon; instead, she simply pulls the eggs together with a net and carries them in chelicera. Because of this, some fall out - they no longer develop and die.
A few weeks later, of those eggs that remained in the cocoon, small spiders appear. And here, too, not everyone is lucky - some of the spiders are weaker than others, and even not able to break the egg themselves and get out. Their spider just eats. The rest are developing rapidly and soon molt for the first time.
During molting, they drop the cover - this is a very painful process, after it the legs of the spider become short, and its body is almost transparent. While the spiders grow up and experience molting, they continue to stay with their mother - she carries them along with her in a net woven for this.
Natural enemies of haymaking spiders
Photo: Spider Centipede
In the wild, they have a lot of enemies, like other spiders.
A variety of predators are not averse to enjoying them, among which:
- mice and rats;
- large insects;
The list does not end with the listed ones - they are not averse to catching and eating almost any predator the size of the hayfoot spider to the squirrel. Larger, they are usually not so much interested in the quality of food, however, they can be caught just out of interest - for example, cats and dogs do it.
In homes and apartments, in addition to pets, who usually have a moderate interest in spiders, and eventually completely stop responding to them, they have almost no enemies, and therefore they live much easier than in nature. Their main enemies are other hayfire spiders or large spiders of other species.
In addition to predators, they are threatened by parasitic fungi from the genus Cordyceps. They grow inside an infected spider until they fill it from the inside - naturally, it dies. After that they break out and eat it up completely, so that not even a chitinous shell remains.
Interesting fact: Although the web of these spiders is not sticky, nevertheless some species use glue. They have hairs on the pedipalps, which glue is released during the hunt. With its help, haymaking spiders reliably capture the victim - just touch it once so that it no longer has a chance to escape.
Population and species status
Photo: The poisonous spider haymaker
Spider-mowers live in almost every house on our planet - it is already clear from this that their population is very large and does not threaten anything. These are very tenacious creatures, which neither environmental degradation nor other factors are capable of doing, due to which other living organisms are sometimes at risk of extinction.
But this applies to synanthropic species - they perfectly adapted to coexistence with humans and, due to this, expanded their habitat. But those remaining to live in the wild can be rarer - this is evidenced by the fact that all new species are opening up in the far corners of the planet.
Their range may be limited to very small areas, and there are species that live in only one region, usually located in the tropics. However, the danger of extinction and they are not in danger due to the fact that the spiders are perfectly adapted and survive even in the most severe conditions.
Interesting fact: In addition to keeping the house clean, the haymaking spiders will also help to scare them away with smells. They really do not like it when it smells of essential oils of eucalyptus, tea tree and peppermint, and therefore their regular spraying will help push spiders to the decision to move to another house.
And it may be necessary to drive him out because, although the spider is a haymaker and harmless to humans, its networks can be annoying. But it should be noted that these spiders very effectively fight with other small domestic animals, and therefore, after disappearing, it can greatly proliferate, and once again think whether a spider or two interferes with you.
Haymaker spider - A non-dangerous and even useful inhabitant of houses. They are struggling with other harmful living creatures, the main thing is that they themselves do not become too many, because then there will be their web everywhere. There are so many different types of these spiders, sometimes their representatives are not much similar to each other, and some live only in wildlife.