FAUNA and FUNGHI of MALTA
(www.MaltaFauna.com)
Scytodes thoracica  (Latreille 1804)
Main synonym = Aranea thoracica    Latreille, 1802
Taxonomical Classification:  Animalia / Arthropoda / Arachnida / Araneae / Scytodidae
Spitting spider     Maltese name not known
Further Information:
Scytodes thoracica is a called a spitting spider because it spits a poisonous sticky silken substance over its prey. The body is about 5-6mm in length and has an unusual shape - sloping upwards towards its rear end whereas the abdomen slopes downwards. It has six eyes instead of the eight that most spiders usually have. It is a nocturnal spider which prefers warm temperatures and is not rare inside houses, esp. in the North.

This species possess silk glands in its cephalothorax connected with its poison glands hence giving it the ability to make poisonous silk. It is a very slow hunter as its long and tender legs may suggest. During night, when all insects are at rest, Scytodes starts its hunt. The spider sneaks very carefully towards its prey and, from about 10 mm, stops and carefully measures the distance to its prey with one front leg without disturbing it. Then it squeezes the back of its body together and spits two poisonous silk threads, in 1/600 sec, in a zigzag manner over the victim. The prey is immediately immobilized. When the prey is larger the spider spits several times. It is assumed the spider uses special long hearing hairs located at its legs to locate its prey.

Females do not nest but carry their eggs and hatching young with her under the abdomen.




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SCYT-THO

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