This month we kicked off our Home School semester with Amazing Arachnids!
We learned the anatomy of a spider the yummy way – with Oreo cookies!
The 10-12 year old class made spider hats to demonstrate how to identify different spider families based on the number and the pattern of their eyes. Spiders will typically have 8 eyes, but some can have as many as 12 or as few as 2. There are even some species of cave-dwelling spiders that are blind!
Spider eyes not only differ in number and pattern, but also in types of eyes. Most of the spider’s eyes can only detect between light and darkness, while other spiders have well-development vision. There is usually a pair of larger eyes in the front that are used for focusing in on prey. The pairs of smaller eyes along the sides are used to detect changes in light. In some spiders, like the wolf spider family, the eyes have a special layer of tissue in the back of their eyes that allow light to be reflected back through it. This tissue is called the tapetum lucidum. If you shine a light at a wolf spider, you will see the eyes glow as its reflects the light back out.
So…..let’s try that! Below is the link to our Eyeshine Explorations activity! This is a great way to explore the nocturnal side of arachnids. Grab a flashlight (and a parent!) and head outside just after it gets dark and see how many spiders you have in your yard!
Happy spider hunting! 🙂