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A spider's eyes are on top and near the front of its head. The size, number, and position of the eyes vary among different species. Spiders do not have chewing mouth parts, and they eat only liquids. Various appendages around the mouth opening form a short "straw" through which the spider sucks the body fluid of its victim.
Chelicerae are a pair of appendages that the spider uses to seize and kill its prey. Each chelicera ends in a hard, hollow, pointed fang. An opening in the tip of the fang connects with the poison glands. When a spider stabs its prey with its chelicerae, poison flows into the wound and paralyzes or kills the victim. Some spiders also crush their prey with their chelicerae, and others use them to dig burrows in the ground as nests.
Pedipalpi (not shown in picture) are a pair of appendages that look like small legs. One pedipalp is attached to each side of the spider's mouth, and the form the sides of the mouth opening. Each pedipalp has six segments. In most kinds of spiders, the segment closest to the body bears a sharp plate with jagged edges. The spider uses this plate to cut and crush its food. In male spiders, the last segment of each pedipalp bears a reproductive organ.
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This page was last updated on June 17, 2017.