Fun Dewdrop Spider Facts For Kids

Martha Martins
Feb 29, 2024 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Tehil David
Dewdrop spider facts about a unique comb-foot spider.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.3 Min

Have you ever heard about a silver-colored, itsy bitsy spider that looks like a dewdrop from a distance? Still in awe? These spiders are born stealers (Kleptoparasite); they steal food from larger hosts' prey and feed on the host's offspring.

The legs can be identified as a carapace that is brown, with a conical-shaped abdomen in silvery color with a body length of three mm. These Argyrodes antipodianus live with orb weaver spiders as kleptoparasitic. They never build their web but live on the host and feed on small prey that the host spider ignores or feeds on food remains left by the host. These Antipodianus build support webs to hide from being eaten by the host. They exhibit nocturnal activities to prevent competition with a host for food. Once the host spider is inactive during the night (diurnal), A. antipodianus monitors the host activity through vibrations on the web and keeps its distance.

The Theridiidae Argyrodes spider species are abundant in the population. However, it's vulnerable to other higher predators and climatic conditions.

If you are an arachnophobe, please check our website for more insight into these orb-weaver spider facts and yellow-sac spider facts.

Dewdrop Spider Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a dewdrop spider?

Silvery dewdrop spider (Argyrodes antipodianus) belongs to the cobweb spider family, and it is well known as kleptoparasite that lives on an orb weaver web and then builds its own. It also depends on the host web for feeding on small insects or feeding on the host's offspring.

Dewdrop spider belongs to Arachnida (classified as a spider, scorpions, and mites) found under the phylum Arthropoda, subphylum Chelicerata, and under the Araneae order in the Theridiidae family.

How many dewdrop spiders are there in the world?

Dewdrop spider is abundant in nature; hence they are not listed under conservation status. However, the exact worldwide population size is not documented.

Where does a dewdrop spider live?

Genus Argyrodes antipodianus is found on a host web. These species are food stealers where they depend on the host's capability to fulfill its food necessity.

What is a dewdrop spider's habitat?

Argyrodes antipodianus and A. elevatus are commonly found in tropical and subtropical climates (Southern parts of the US, Australia, and New Zealand). And their existence is dependent on giant orb-weaver spiders (such as Araneus dimidiatus, Nephila plumipes, Plebs eburnus, Nephila pilipes, Nephilengys).

Who do dewdrop spiders live with?

The silvery dewdrop spider (Argyrodes antipodianus) co-exists communally with other kleptoparasite spiders or other orb-weaver species. These spiders rely on giant host spiders (especially orb-weavers) for food necessities as long as the host allows the parasites and is willing to share its webs. Once the host orb-weaver refuses to share and attacks these parasites, the web is abandoned by parasite spiders leaving the host alone.

How long does a dewdrop spider live?

Dewdrop spiders belong to the Araneae Theridiidae family and live for a year or less than a year. Some other large orb-weaver species have a longer life expectancy, such as the common barn funnel weaver which lives up to seven years. The black widow can live up to three years, and a tarantula's life expectancy varies from 10-30 years. Spiders have a sex-based life span, where females live longer than males.

How do they reproduce?

Dewdrop spider exhibits sexual dimorphism where the female dewdrop is larger than the male dewdrop. The male spider has two sensory appendages called pedipalps which act as the penis. These pedipalps are inserted into the female reproductive opening. After mating, the female creates a silk bed, lays eggs in the silk bed, and covers them with more silk. These egg sacs are built near the edge of the large orb-weaver webs. The globular-shaped papery brown sac diameter is 4 mm, with 30 white eggs.

What is their conservation status?

The population is abundant but due to brutal survival instincts and a higher reproductive rate, these Argyrodes antipodianus are not listed by IUCN. They have no pest or hunting threats; hence no conservation precautions are taken. The species Nephila, a poisonous spider, is a possible threat to limit the population; however, the reproductive rate is more than the rate of predatory mortality.

Dewdrop Spider Fun Facts

What do dewdrop spiders look like?

Argyrodes antipodianus have sensory appendages called pedipalps.

The length of an Argyrodes antipodianus is usually about 0.07-0.011 in (2-3 mm), with some differences between sexes and individuals. The carapace and legs are dark brown, while the abdomen is a bright silver color with a conical shape. The dewdrop spider does not have a skeleton; however, the outer shell exoskeleton is rigid and hard. The conical abdomen has spinnerets to produce silk.

The cephalothorax is a thorax and spider head fused. The cephalothorax consists of glands to make poison, the stomach, mouth, legs, brain, and fangs. Pedipalps are present next to fangs. Each dewdrop spider has 48 leg joints and each leg has six joints. The legs have chemosensory hair that detects the host movements through vibration on a large orb-weaver, and this hair is also water repellent so that rainwater does wash the spider down the web, and two small claws present at the end of the legs to tear its food. The dewdrop body is oily so that it does not get entangled in web strings.

How cute are they?

These tiny spiders look attractive with their silver color conical abdomens. So it uses its appearance to attract its prey to get caught on the web. The tiny insect mistook the spider for a dewdrop; hence its name dewdrop. Can you imagine tiny shiny silvery dewdrops moving around the edges of the large orb?

How do they communicate?

Spiders communicate mysteriously; they send seismic signals toward the web. Based on vibrations it receives through the web, the spider senses the movement and behavior of prey before feeding and also senses the host's movements. Moreover, the chemo-sensitive hair on the legs decodes and responds. The spider web is hence considered the extension of sensory receptors to communicate. This new scientific study on vibrational communication in animals is called Biotremology.

How big is a dewdrop spider?

The dewdrop spider (Argyrodes antipodianus) has a 0.08-0.15 in (0.2-0.4 cm) body length, which is three times bigger than Patu Digua (the tiniest spider on Earth, with a length of 0.02 in (0.04 cm).

How fast can a dewdrop spider run?

Dewdrop spiders are tiny and quick runners. They are much faster and protect themselves from the host as they are kleptoparasitic. Unfortunately, the exact reading is not recorded in studies.

How much does a dewdrop spider weigh?

These spiders are lighter in weight. Their body weight gives them the advantage of occupying large orb-weaver webs so that host spiders cannot detect their movement on the web.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Dewdrop spiders do not have a sex-specific name. However, the male is called the male dewdrop spider, and the female is called the female dewdrop spider.

What would you call a baby dewdrop spider?

A dewdrop spider (Antipodianus) is referred to as a spider at a young age.

What do they eat?

Dewdrop spider feeds on tiny insects trapped on large orb-weaver webs. At times their steal the host's prey leftovers. In recent reference studies on the genus, Argyrodes spiders feed on their host during the molting stage.

Are they poisonous?

Dewdrop spiders are so tiny that their poison is not harmful, unlike deadly poisonous spiders such as funnel web, an Australian spider that can cause death at a speed rate of 15 minutes when it bites the human torso.

Would they make a good pet?

Large non-poisonous spiders are commonly kept as pets, such as the tarantula. However, the dewdrop spider, though harmless and very tiny, is parasitic and so makes it impossible to adopt a pet.

Did you know...

In biological linguistics, these spiders are known as silvery thieves.

The name Argyrodes is derived from Greek, where Argyros means silver and odes means like.

Antipodianus can only consume a liquid diet. So it needs to liquefy food before eating. They bite on prey and empty their stomach to feed on the liquids and drink them like soup.

Argyrodes antipodianus has an oversized brain.

Argyrodes have blue-colored blood that contains hemocyanin (oxygen combines with copper-based protein); red-colored blood, on the other hand, contains hemoglobin where oxygen combines with iron-based protein.

Grostal and Paul wrote about Kleptoparasites, highlighting our brief understanding of this species.

Dr. Ron Atkinson, in 2009 documented Argyrodes found in Southern Queensland.

In 1880, Octavius Pickard Cambridge gave the first descriptions of the species Argyrodes antipodiana from Frederick Hutton's samples collected from Sydney and New Zealand. Arthur Urquhart independently described this spider in 1885 as the Argyrodes conus species. Raymond de Dalmas provided an advanced description in 1917 and changed its name to Argyrodes antipodianus; that same is reviewed its description in 1924 and 1999.

How to tell male and female dewdrop spiders apart?

Female dewdrop spiders are larger than male dewdrops, and they look similar except for the conical shape abdomen that changes, becoming larger and more round before laying eggs.

Are dewdrop spiders harmful?

Argyrodes antipodianus is tiny and completely harmless. Though they bite, their poison does not affect humans.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these elm seed bug facts or lace bug facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our dewdrop spider coloring pages.

Dewdrop Spider Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Small Insects, moths, host spider, and their offspring

What Type of Animal were they?

Kleptoparasitic

Average Litter Size?

30 eggs

How Much Did They Weigh?

N/A

What habitat Do they Live In?

other spider's web (especially orb-weaver spiders)

Where Do They Live?

the united states, australia, new zealand, and new caledonia

How Long Were They?

0.079-0.15 in (0.2-0.4 cm)

How Tall Were They?

N/A

Class

Arachnida

Genus

Argyrodes

Family

Theridiidae

Scientific Name

Argyrodes antipodianus

What Do They Look Like?

Brown and black with a silver color abdomen

Skin Type

Exoskeleton with chemosensitive hair on legs

What Are Their Main Threats?

lizards such as ghetto and chameleon, birds, and orb-weaver spiders

What is their Conservation Status?

Not Listed
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Sources

en.wikipedia.orgwww.tandfonline.comwsc.nmbe.chwww.landcareresearch.co.nzwww.researchgate.netwww.researchgate.net

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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.

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