What Is a Tick and Where Do Ticks Come From?

We often speak of ticks and mites as if they were two separate groups of arachnids, but ticks are really nothing more than very large, blood-sucking mites that take their meals from reptiles, birds, or mammals. In North America, there are only two families of ticks: the hard ticks, which have the body more or […]

Why do light bulbs burn out?

Incandescent light bulbs produce light when an electric current passes through a filament, heating it until it produces light via black body radiation. They burn out because the filament oxidizes when exposed to oxygen that either leaks into the bulb or is present after it’s manufactured. Fluorescent lamps are more complicated than incandescent light bulbs […]

How Do Spiders Catch Their Prey?

Some spiders lie in ambush and snatch any insect that comes too close. Other spiders hunt for the insects and other arthropods that they eat, then pounce on them as a cat pounces on a mouse. But most spiders, which happen to be those that are most familiar to people, trap their prey in silken […]

How Big Is the Biggest Spider In the World?

The biggest spider in the world is big enough to cover a dinner plate. The largest known spiders are the Goliath bird-eating spiders of the coastal rain forests of northeastern South America. The largest one known, a male collected by a scientific expedition in Venezuela, had, according to the Guinness Book of Records, a leg […]

Do Mites Live In the Nests of Birds?

The nests of most species of birds are occupied by mites. Some of these mites are a benign presence, scavengers that eat only organic debris in the nest, but others are parasites that suck blood from the occupants of the nest. The nest of a starling may harbor as many as 80,000 tiny, blood-sucking mites.

What Do Scorpions Eat and Why Do Scorpions Eat So Much Food?

All scorpions are predators, and between them they eat an astonishing variety of small animals, most often arthropods such as insects, spiders, millipedes, centipedes, and others. Some of the larger scorpions are known to eat small lizards, snakes, and even rodents. Scorpions are opportunistic predators of small arthropods and insects, and can consume huge amounts […]

What Is an Arachnid and How Many Legs Do Arachnids Have?

An arachnid is, not surprisingly, a member of the class Arachnida, which consists of many sorts of creatures that are quite different from each other, including, among others, spiders, scorpions, harvestmen (daddy long legs), mites, and ticks. The segments of an arachnid’s body are grouped as two regions, the cephalothorax, a combination of head (cephalon) […]

Why Do Scorpions Sting In Defense and Which Animals Prey On Scorpions?

Scorpions sting as they attempt to defend themselves against the many predators that view scorpions as potential meals. Among the invertebrates that eat scorpions are centipedes, spiders, and some insects, especially ants. But the worst invertebrate predators of scorpions are other scorpions. Among the vertebrates that eat scorpions are frogs and toads, lizards, birds, and […]

What Is a Mite and How Do You Recognize a Mite?

The mites are the tiniest of the arachnids. For that matter, they are among the tiniest of all the animals. If you look at a mite under magnification, you will see that, generally speaking, its body consists of two discernible parts: a small head-like structure, which bears the mouthparts and the feeler-like pedipalps, and the […]