When you think of spiders, you might picture small, harmless house pests or venomous predatory hunters. However, this intriguing group of arachnids spans a wide variety of sizes and weights, with the Goliath Birdeater of Suriname, Guyana, Brazil, and Venezuela holding the title for the world’s largest spider by weight. The tarantula-like creatures can reach leg lengths of up to twelve inches and weigh over 175 grams, or about 0.386 pounds—which is a little more than a baseball!
Regardless of their size, spiders have honed a number of specialized adaptations to enhance their hunting strategies. For example, jumping spiders have evolved to be relatively lightweight, which enables them to make rapid and precise jumps that capture prey with astonishing accuracy. In addition, a spider’s weight influences the strength of its silk strands and can even impact its ability to climb.
Most spiders are carnivorous, either trapping flies and other insects in their webs or stalking them for a meal. Spiders don’t chew food, as their mouth parts are not adapted to taking in solids, so they inject digestive fluid into the body of their prey and suck out the liquefied remains.
Many species of spider are social, using silk to construct communal webs for protection or for mating. Others are solitary, but most female spiders identify potential mates through a range of complex courtship rituals. Spider populations can also be affected by environmental changes or habitat problems, so understanding their weight is important to conservation efforts.