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Glossary


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Diagrams of Spider Anatomy


Abdomen
The posterior of the two major sections into which the body of a spider is divided (see picture)
Angulate
Sharply cornered
Autotomy
The process whereby a spider will break off a leg being held by an enemy
Boss

A smooth prominence on the lateral side of the base of the chelicera.  Not found on all spiders (see picture)
Carapace
The hard dorsal covering of the cephalothorax (see picture)
Cephalothorax

The anterior of the two major sections into which the body of a spider is divided, comprised of a fused head and thorax (see picture)
Chelicera

(Plural: Chelicerae)  The front jaws of a spider, consisting of a thick basal segment and a terminal fang (see picture)

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Claw
A small pincer-like structure at the distal end of a leg(see picture)
Comb
A series of dense hairs sometimes present on the legs of a spider
Coxa

(Plural: Coxea) The first segment of a leg, which connects it to the body (see picture)
Cribellate web

A web made of multiple, fine strands designed to entangle prey
Dorsum

The back, or upper surface of the body of a spider (see picture)
Endite

A hard plate at the base of the palps used to help crush prey (see picture)
Epigynum

The organ in the female spider that stores sperm deposited by the male spider (see picture)

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Fang

The claw-like part of a chelicera. Venom is injected into prey via the fang's hollow tip (see picture)
Femur

The third segment of a leg (from the body) (see picture)
Head region

The anterior portion of the cephalothorax (see picture)
Keel

A horizontal ridge or protuberance
Labium

The 'lip', between the bottom of the chelicerae and the front of the sternum. It forms the bottom of the mouth (see picture)
Lateral

Away from the midline of the body
Leg spread

The total length of a spider including the legs

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Medial

Towards the midline of the body
Median ocular area

The region delineated by the anterior and posterior pair of medial eyes (see picture)
Metatarsus

The sixth segment of the leg (from the body) (see picture)
Molt

A shedding and replacement of the exoskeleton to allow for further growth
Palp
see Pedipalp
Patella

The fourth segment of the leg (from the body) (see picture)
Pedicel

The narrow area connecting the cephalothorax and the body (see picture)
Pedipalp

The appendage anterior to the legs. In the male, they are used to transfer sperm to the female via an enlarged claw (see picture)

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Procurved

Curved in an arc such that the ends are anterior to the center
Recurved

Curved in an arc such that the ends are posterior to the center
Shoulder humps

A pair of pronounced protuberances on the dorsum
Spiderling

A small, immature spider that generally resembles the adult in form, though much smaller and often differentially colored
Spinneret (posterior, median, anterior)

The small appendages at the posterior end of the abdomen through which silk is spun (see picture)
Spiracle

A pore on the ventral side of the abdomen used in respiration (see picture)
Sternum

The central area of the exoskeleton on the ventral surface of the cephalothorax, between the coxae of the legs (see picture)

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Tarsus

(Plural: tarsi) The most distal segment of the leg before the claw (see picture)
Teeth

Sharp points on the medial border of the chelicerae that are helpful in maintaining a good grip on prey as it is bitten (see picture)
Thoracic region

The posterior portion of the cephalothorax (see picture)
Tibia

The fifth segment of a leg (from the body) (see picture)
Trochanter

The second segment of a leg (from the body) (see picture)

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Last updated 12/14/2004