Smallest Spider: Identifying The 'Itsy Bitsy' Spider In Real Life

Martha Martins
Oct 25, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Nov 18, 2021
A small spider belonging to the family Linyphiidae
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.3 Min

Some people love spiders and find them to be fascinating creatures, while others hate spiders and find them scary.

Do you know what the fear of spiders is called? It is called Arachnophobia.

Some people are very scared of spiders due to a previous unpleasant experience, while others might be put off because they don't like a spider's web.

Spiders belong to the arthropod class of organisms and are the largest of the arachnid family. Spiders are carnivores and generally have a lifespan of about one to two years.

Spiders weave sticky webs to capture their prey. They also sometimes swing in the air with the help of their web, which looks like they are flying, this is called ballooning.

Some spiders, particularly Eurasian spiders, like living in slow-moving water. Spiders are considered sacred in some cultures, and you might even find paintings of spiders in some cultural art. Do you like spiders?

If not, then maybe learning some fascinating facts about them might make you change your mind. Afterward, you can also read about what spiders eat and find out what attracts spiders.

How many spider species are there?

A spider is one of the scariest creatures on earth. There are more than 4,500 species of spiders that are known to us, but it is believed that there are more which we have not yet found. All these species possess distinct characteristics which make them unique.

These creatures vary in size, methods of hunting, venom, and many other features. The smallest spider is believed to be the Patu digua, which has an overall body length of about 0.015 in (0.03 cm).

The largest spider is considered to be the Goliath birdeater spider, which is a tarantula with a body size of approximately 4.7 in (11.9 cm) long.

Some species are highly venomous and deadly, like the most venomous spider, a male Sydney funnel-web spider, which can kill a human with even a small amount of its venom. Some other spiders, like the lynx spider, have hairy legs!

Almost all spiders are carnivores except for one species, known as Bagheera kiplingi, which is the only vegetarian species of spider. There are many more distinct species of fascinating spiders.

What is the world's smallest spider?

The answer to the question 'what is the world’s smallest spider?'

is still not clear and is considered debatable, as there is more than one contender for the title of the smallest spider. According to the world’s top scientists, the smallest spider is considered to be any of the two species of the family Symphytognathidae.

The first contender is the male Patu digua, with a body length of around 0.014 in (0.03 cm), and the second is the Samoan moss spider, which can be as small as 0.011 in (0.02 cm).

According to scientists, there are also some other candidates. A female Anapistula ataecina, which is a cave spider found in Portugal, has a body length of about 0.016 in (0.04 cm), and the males of this species can be even smaller.

Another one is the Anapistula caecula, which is a dwarf orb-weaver. Females of this species are only about 0.018 in (0.04 cm) long, with white, yellow, and black markings on the body.

These species are considered the smallest, but none of them can be said to be the smallest of them all because their sizes vary depending on whether they are male or female, and because there can be a variation in the size and length of their abdomen compared to other parts of their body.

How tiny can spiders get?

As we have just discussed the smallest spiders, we now know that a spider can be as tiny as 0.011 in (0.28 mm). The Patu digua is generally accepted to be the smallest spider, despite there being a few other candidates for the title.

Even though this spider is so small, you do not need a microscope to see it, and with a bit of straining, you would be able to see these tiny spiders with your own eyes.

Because these spiders are so small you might not find them to be scary looking at all, unless you see a magnified image of them on the internet or through a microscope.

In real life, without being magnified, they would appear to be no bigger than the tiniest ant.

Crab spider on yellow flower

Is the arachnid the smallest?

Arachnids are a class of joint-legged arthropods that include some of the smallest types of organisms in the world, like spiders, mites, and ticks. Did you know that mites are the smallest of all the arachnids? They are no bigger than 0.03 in (0.07 cm).

Now, you are probably thinking that a Patu digua spider is smaller than a mite, so why are mites considered the smallest arachnid?

This is because all species of mite have a body length shorter than 0.03 in (0.07 cm) whereas spiders have a larger variety of sizes, with only some species having a body length under 0.1 in (0.25 cm).

How big is the smallest spider?

The smallest spider is very small indeed, just about the same size as some species of ant. Sometimes a spider might even be smaller than an ant. The Patu digua spider can be about 0.015 in (0.03 cm) long, and an ant can be 0.01 in (0.02 cm) long, so they are quite similar in size.

Isn’t it strange that an ant can be bigger than a spider? Well, not all spiders are this small and an ant is only bigger than some species of spiders.

Other spiders are bigger than ants and have been known to eat them! If you are scared of spiders, then maybe it helps to know how small some spiders can be, some are so tiny that they can be compared to the head of a pin!

Why are they so small?

Every organism on this planet has a size and structure, which has evolved according to its survival needs. Some organisms are huge, like elephants and giraffes, while some are very small, like mites and microorganisms. Their size helps them to survive in this dynamic world.

Like every other organism, spiders also have some very tiny species because of the evolutionary process. These tiny spiders may have evolved to be so small because of the need to hide from predators. A spider’s body will have evolved according to its habitat.

Can we help them?

You probably think that spiders are just some scary creatures that should not be present in your house, but they are actually very useful for our environment. Every organism on this planet has a specific role to play in the world, and with the loss of any one of them, our environment could become unstable.

You should try to understand the importance of every organism and know that you can also help them in their survival. The best thing you can do to help a spider is to not kill them.

Because most spiders are so small, they can be hurt or killed very easily.

If you see a spider, try not to harm it.

If you do not want a spider in your house, just gently trap it and release it somewhere outside, instead of killing it.

If you do go near a spider with the intention of moving it and the species is not known then take care when doing so, as some spiders can bite or be venomous, and may need to be approached with caution.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for smallest spider, then why not take a look at spider symbolism or spider facts.


We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You

See All

Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

Read full bio >