Fun Spruce-fir Moss Spider Facts For KidsFraser Fir Tree

Nidhi Sahai
Oct 20, 2022 By Nidhi Sahai
Originally Published on Mar 23, 2022
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat
Discover some amazing facts about these tiny spruce fir-moss spiders!
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.8 Min

The spruce fir moss spider belongs to the kingdom Animalia, having the scientific name of Microhexura montivaga. These endangered species have got their name from the spruce-fir forests.

These spider species are darker reddish-brown in color, having their natural suitable habitat in southern Appalachian mountains, mount Mitchell, Tennessee, and western North Carolina. Tennessee used to be the most abundant area of having the population of these spiders.

The southern Appalachian mountains are now known to have most of their species.

They can be seen growing on the moss mats under well-shaded rocks. The forest habitat which these spiders require gets destroyed by the Balsam woolly adelgid, and hence the fish and wildlife service come up with many recovery plans to protect such places.

Spruce-Fir Moss Spider Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a spruce-fir moss spider?

The spruce fir moss spider species is a kind of tarantula that grows in a forest canopy under the rocks. The spruce-fir moss spider's surviving populations are limited to small patches of appropriate moss mat on certain scattered rock outcroppings and boulders under fir and pine trees in fir and spruce-fir woods.

This spider has got its name from the fir trees.

What class of animal does a spruce-fir moss spider belong to?

The Endangered species of spruce fir moss spider species belongs to the phylum Arthropoda, Subphylum Chelicerata, Class Arachnida, Order Araneae, and Infraorder Mygalomorphae. Dr. Frederick Coyle is the leading expert on the research dealing with these spiders.

How many spruce-fir moss spiders are there in the world?

Only five known populations of the spruce-fir moss spider species existed when it was designated as endangered in 1995, and they were found in three mountain ranges in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. The spider had been discovered on 22 mountaintops across six mountain ranges by 2009.

Where does a spruce-fir moss spider live?

Only the highest mountain summits in the Southern Appalachian of western North Carolina, forest of Mount Collins, southwest Virginia, and eastern Tennessee, are home to the spruce-fir moss spider. The spider is most abundant in fir and spruce-fir woods above 5400 ft (1645 m) in height, as well as on slopes facing north.

What is a spruce-fir moss spider's habitat?

The spruce fir moss spider primary habitat is the high-elevation Fraser fir and red spruce woods. It lives on suitable moss mats that develop on well-shaded rocks that are just the right amount of damp – not too wet, not too dry. It forms tube-shaped webs that attach to rock and moss surfaces.

Who do spruce-fir moss spiders live with?

There has been very little information collected to date about the social behavior of these spiders species. It is believed that they are not very social and are often found alone or in very small groups.

The eastern Tennessee population of these spiders in the Sevier County used to be in large number, but now the stable population can be seen in the Avery County in mountain peaks of North Carolina.

How long does a spruce-fir moss spider live?

The average life expectancy is not known yet of these species. The species' maturity is predicted to take three years, according to experts in the field.

How do they reproduce?

Very little information is available on their reproduction process. In June, the spruce-fir moss spider female lays seven to nine eggs in a translucent egg sac with a thin wall. She stays with the egg sac until September when her spiderlings hatch.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these spiders species is Endangered according to the red list of IUCN. There have been many spruce-fir moss spider conservation efforts which include primarily conserving their habitat of dense forests canopy.

A recovery plan has been taken to protect the Great Smoky Mountain National park service. The recovery plan gets designed in a way to understand the growth rate of these light brown to a darker shade spider.

The insect pest named Balsam woolly adelgid adelges has been a factor in providing damage to the forest. This insect pest belongs to Europe.

Spruce-Fir Moss Spider Fun Facts

What do spruce-fir moss spiders look like?

The Endangered species of spruce-fir moss spider characteristics are that they are among the tiniest spiders species in the Mygalomorphae suborder, which also contains trapdoor and tarantulas spiders. Adults are only 1/8 in (about 3 -4 mm) in length.

The spruce-fir moss spider has no markings on its belly and its colors range from yellow-brown to light-brown to a darker reddish-brown. They can form tube-shaped webs that attach to rock and well-drained moss surfaces.

Read interesting facts about spruce fir moss spider here.

How cute are they?

Though they are very tiny spiders, they are not that appealing or adorable to human eyes. They may appear scary to kids.

How do they communicate?

No information is available on this.

How big is a Spruce-Fir Moss Spider?

The Spruce fir moss spider is baout 1/8 inch (about 3 -4 mm) in length.

How fast can a Spruce-Fir Moss Spider jump?

The speed of their jump is not known yet! Very little information is available.

How much does a Spruce-Fir Moss Spider weigh?

The information on their weight is not known yet, as they are very small and rare, it gets difficult to get the exact measurement.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female sexes of this spider does not have any specific names.

What would you call a baby Spruce-Fir Moss Spider?

The baby of this spider is called baby spruce fir moss spider. There is no specific name given to them.

What do they eat?

During research, there has been no food found on the spruce-fir moss spider web. But spruce-fir moss spider diet is believed to have some small insects and Springtails.

Are they poisonous?

There has been no evidence of the spruce-fir moss spider having poisonous characteristics.

Would they make a good pet?

No, they won't make a good pet. They are tarantulas, hence are not supposed to be a pet. They need their natural habitat of the dense mountain forest canopy to thrive. As they are an endangered species also, they should not be kept as a pet.

Did you know...

The spider derives its name from the vertically growing moss on stones where it lives, as well as the red spruce and Fraser fir trees that occupy high altitudes. For the spider to flourish, the moss spots must stay damp and shaded.

Is the Spruce-Fir Moss Spider a tarantula?

The spruce-fir moss spider is the world's tiniest categorized tarantula, measuring about the equivalent of a BB pellet.

Between rock surfaces and moss mats, the small spruce-fir moss spider spins thin-walled pipe webs. The spruce-fir moss spider eats on springtails (collembolans) in the moss, but no food source has been detected within these webs.

Why is the Spruce-Fir Moss Spider endangered?

The insect pest named Balsam woolly adelgid adelges has been a factor in providing damage to the forest habitat where these spiders thrive. This insect pest belongs to Europe. Apart from that, due to various natural causes and global warming, the thick forest cover is diminishing for these species.

*We've been unable to source an image of spruce-fir moss spider and have used an image of Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantula instead of the same class. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of spruce-fir moss spider, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com.

**We've been unable to source an image of spruce-fir moss spider and have used an image of Brazilian salmon pink bird-eating tarantula instead of the same class. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of spruce-fir moss spider, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at hello@kidadl.com.

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Written by Nidhi Sahai

Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

Nidhi Sahai picture

Nidhi SahaiBachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication

Dedicated and experienced, Nidhi is a professional content writer with a strong reputation for delivering high-quality work. She has contributed her expertise to esteemed organizations, including Network 18 Media and Investment Ltd. Driven by her insatiable curiosity and love for journalism and mass communication, Nidhi pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, graduating with distinction in 2021. During her college years, she discovered her passion for Video Journalism, showcasing her skills as a videographer for her institution. Nidhi's commitment to making a positive impact extends beyond her professional pursuits. Actively engaging in volunteer work, she has contributed to various events and initiatives throughout her academic career.

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Fact-checked by Sonali Rawat

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali Rawat picture

Sonali RawatBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature, Masters of Art specializing in English and Communication Skills

Sonali has a Bachelor's degree in English literature from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University and is currently pursuing a Master's in English and Communication from Christ University. With considerable experience in writing about lifestyle topics, including travel and health, she has a passion for Japanese culture, especially fashion, and anime, and has written on the subject before. Sonali has event managed a creative-writing festival and coordinated a student magazine at her university. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison and Anita Desai.

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