How many spiders are in your garden?
I don’t know how many spiders are in your garden, but there are 500,000 known spider species in the world. It is estimated that, on average, 10% of them – 50,000 – may occur in every acre of green space.
In April 2022, scientists identified the 500,000th spider species on Earth, but there are many more worldwide that have not been identified yet, says staff at the Natural History Museum of Bern in Switzerland. It was a jumping spider in South America, which scientists classified as Guriurius minuano in the Salticidae family. Researchers in Brazil found it and reported it to the World Spider Catalogue (WSC), and provided information about it in the scientific journal Zootaxa.
The first spider entered the World Spider Catalogue in 1757. So, in 265 years, 500,000 spider species have been identified. For example, there are about 600 identified spider species in the United Kingdom. Scientists think that another 50,000 new spider species globally will be entered into the WSC in the next 100 years.
Spiders are good for the planet because they are natural pest control agents. They eat between 400 million and 800 million tons of insects every year, and help to prevent food crop damage. Spiders eat flies, leaf-hoppers, beetles, bugs, and other insects.
In the Northern Hemisphere, lots of spiders are seen in April and May in the spring months when the eggs hatch. Many spiders are so small that humans don’t notice them – except when they become adults by late summer, and especially if they are seen indoors.
In autumn from September to November, and sometimes in winter from December to February, spiders are difficult to see, but people can see spider webs when rain and moisture collect on the silk and then the web becomes very visible.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM