Fun Bolas Spider Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Tehil David
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Bolas spider facts are interesting to read.

Bolas spiders are a fascinating group of spiders belonging to the Araneidae family (also known as the orb-weaver spider family). However, these spiders do not construct a typical orb-web. Instead, they are known to produce silk lines that help them in capturing insects, especially moths. They employ chemical tactics for this as well.

Bolas spiders are classified into three genera. They are found in North America, South America, Australia, Asia, and Africa, and depending on the species, their appearance varies.

They can mostly be found in trees shrubs, and gardens, as well. Their size is not that big, and the male bolas spiders are especially quite small in appearance.

Female bolas spiders molt several times before they finally reach their final size and these animals are able to understand their surroundings through the help of vibrations. Females make their own egg sacs to hold the several eggs they lay.

The name 'bolas' was given to these arachnids due to the silk line they produce with a blob at the end of it. To learn more true facts about the bolas spider, keep reading! You can also check out facts about the banded garden spider and yellow sac spider if you liked this article.

Bolas Spider Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a bolas spider?

The bolas spider is a kind of arachnid. These spiders are known for hunting using special techniques to prey on moths instead of spinning typical orb webs.

What class of animal does a bolas spider belong to?

Bolas spiders belong to the class Arachnida. They are part of the family Araneidae which includes the famous orb-weaver spiders that are classified under several genera.

How many bolas spiders are there in the world?

The exact population of bolas spiders throughout the world is not known. However, these spiders are spread throughout several regions of the world and there are said to be more than 60 species representing the three genera. Despite this, these spiders can be considered to be relatively rare in their own family of orb weavers.

Where does a bolas spider live?

Several species of bolas spiders can be found in North America, South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Many spiders of this species belonging to the genus Mastophora are found in South America, but the Mastophora cornigera and Mastophora hutchinsoni are seen in North America, along with a few other species.

Under the genus Ordagarius, three species can be found in Australia, namely, Ordagarius mostrosus, Ordagarius furcatus, and Ordagarius magnificus. Other members of the Ordagarius genus are seen in Asia, and members of the genus Cladomelea are seen in Africa.

What is a bolas spider's habitat?

Bolas spiders are known to live in a variety of different habitats. The southern bolas spider (Mastophora cornigera) can be found in shrubs, woodlands, and urban gardens. The magnificent bolas spider of Australia can be seen in eucalyptus trees and is less likely to appear in gardens.

Who do bolas spiders live with?

Not much is known about whether bolas spiders live in groups or alone. However, most spider species are known to display solitary behavior. Bolas spiders do come together for mating.

How long does a bolas spider live?

In the life cycle of Mastophora hutchinsoni, the spiders mate in late summer or early fall season and subsequently die during the winter season. Males are known to have a shorter lifespan than female spiders.

How do they reproduce?

The egg-laying season varies among bolas spiders depending on the climate they are in. In Australia,  Ordgarius monstrous females reach maturity in June. Subsequently, they start laying eggs from late June until early September.

In Africa, Cladomela akermani females produce eggs in July. These arachnids tend to lay a few hundred eggs, while some are capable of producing thousands.

Female spiders build egg sacs that contain their eggs. Once the eggs hatch, male spiders in some species come out as mature individuals, while others require one or two molts. For all female spiders, several molts are required before maturity is attained.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the bolas spider species has not been listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Since these spiders are present in a wide range of areas, their population can safely be believed to not be under any severe threat.

Bolas Spider Fun Facts

What do bolas spiders look like?

Males bolas spiders appear significantly smaller than females. Mastophora corniegera bolas spiders are brown, red, yellow, white, or ivory in color. Female spiders of this species look a little like bird droppings, which helps them go unnoticed by predators.

Australian magnificent bolas spiders are quite distinct. They have two yellow knobs located on their abdomens and a salmon-colored body. The eyespots on the backs of these spiders make them look like the moths they capture. Among Mastaphora hutchinsoni, female spiders have dark brown patterns on their spherical abdomens.

The bolas spider releases female moth pheromones when hunting.

How cute are they?

These spiders belonging to the orb-weaver family may not appear stereotypically cute or beautiful, but their special hunting technique using silk lines and 'blobs' to capture their prey are quite fascinating. despite this, they look quite creepy and scary so cannot be described as cute!

How do they communicate?

Bolas spiders mainly communicate through vibrations. They also make use of pheromones as a communication tool. This pheromone communication plays an important role in the sophisticated way in which these spiders catch their prey.

How big is a bolas spider?

The body length of several kinds of bolas spiders is between 0.4-0.78 in (10-20 mm) in the adult female and less than 0.07 in (2 mm) in the adult male. Female bolas spiders are known to molt multiple times before they reach their final size. Did you know that bolas spiders are significantly smaller than red widow spiders?

How fast can bolas spiders move?

Just like other spiders, bolas spiders are known to crawl around with their four pairs of legs. However, their exact speed is not known.

How much does a bolas spider weigh?

The exact weight of bolas spiders is not known. However, since they are not very big, it can be assumed that their weight is on the lighter side.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Male and female spiders belonging to this species do not have separate names. They are simply known as male bolas spiders and female bolas spiders.

What would you call a baby bolas spider?

A baby bolas spider is known as a spiderling.

What do they eat?

Like other spiders, bolas spiders mainly feed on insects and several moth species. These spiders capture their prey using a deceptive technique of aggressive chemical mimicry. Adult female spiders release pheromones that mimic the pheromones of female moths to falsely attract and capture male moths with the help of their silk lines.

Are they harmful?

Bolas spiders are not harmful to humans, as their venom does not cause a significant reaction in humans. However, their venom is fatal for their prey, such as insects and moths.

Would they make a good pet?

Bolas spiders are not a popular choice as pets as it is best to leave them to live in their natural habiats.

Did you know...

Bolas spiders are eaten by other insects when they are still in the egg stage. Five insect species belonging to the order Hymenoptera are known to consume Mastophora eggs. Members of the Eupelmidae family also have parasitic effects on Mastophora bolas spiders and members of the genus Gelis feed on Mastophora cornigera spider.

Female spiders are known to eat their own bolas if they are unable to capture any moths.

How do bolas spiders catch their prey?

Bolas spiders catch their prey using intelligent hunting techniques. Female bolas spiders release pheromones which mimic the mating pheromone of the female moth species.

Therefore, male moths are duped into believing these pheromones are released by an actual female moth, and they end up following the trail. When a male moth eventually comes in close contact with the bolas spider, she swings her hanging silk line with a sticky blob at the end towards the moth and captures it.

This method of mimicking the pheromones of female moths to attract male moths is known as aggressive chemical mimicry.

Males and juvenile bolas spiders do not imply this mechanism and simply use their legs to capture prey. Interestingly, female bolas spiders are capable of producing specialized pheromones depending on their location and food availability.

Myths about the bolas spider

Bolas spiders are called 'bolas' spiders because of the single silk line they produce with a sticky ball or blob at the end of it. They use this hanging silk line with a capture blob at the end to catch their prey.

However, the real bolas from which the name has been taken are actually an old weapon that was used to capture animals, made up of two or more weights connected by a single cord.

These bolas worked by tangling the feet of the animal it is thrown at.

The 'bolas' of this spider do not tangle their prey but they do stick to it. Unlike the real bolas, the bolas spider's bolas remains in its grip when they catch their prey.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including the six-eyed sand spider, or the cat-faced spider.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our Bolas Spider coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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Fact-checked by Tehil David

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David picture

Tehil DavidBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature, Master of Arts specializing in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Tehil David Singh is a fact checker with a Bachelor's degree in English literature from St.Xavier's College, Palayamkottai, and a Master's degree in Philosophy, and Religion from Madurai Kamaraj University. He has a passion for writing and hopes to become a story writer in the future. Tehil has previously interned in content writing and has been a content creator for the last three years. In his personal life, he enjoys singing, songwriting, performing, and writing stories.

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