Do spiders have brains? Well, yes of course they do!
Spiders are small so you wouldn’t think that they have a lot going on in their brain function but spiders can surprise you with how smart they really are.
While spiders are smaller than many other creatures, they use what nature has given them both efficiently and effectively.
There are more than 40,000 spider species found around the world and that number is inching even closer to getting over 50,000 species as more spiders are discovered.
One thing that the majority of spider species have in common is how effective they are at hunting no matter if they hunt on the ground or if they use webs.
Spiders are very intelligent considering many are less than an inch in size and shouldn’t have much capacity to handle complex tasks, but they do handle those tasks and they handle them well.
Let’s learn all about spider brains!
Do Spiders Have Brains?
Yes, spiders do have brains. Although their brains are small, spiders can accomplish a lot with what little brain capacity nature gave them.
They can handle tasks with ease and have the ability to be effective in their daily lives, whether they are ground or web spiders or even if they are spiders with bad eyesight.
Since spiders don’t have ears and most don’t have good eyesight, they rely on other senses in the form of vibrations and sudden movements to hunt their prey.
Some spider species even exhibit the ability to learn and have problem-solving capabilities.
How Many Brains Do Spiders Have?
Spiders only have one brain. But spiders don’t have brains in the way humans do.
A spider’s brain is a concentration of neural cells that fill up the cephalothorax and spill over into other parts of smaller spiders.
How Big Are Spider Brains?
Since smaller spiders are so tiny, their big brains actually spill into their legs.
Well, their brains aren’t technically big but given their size, they don’t have enough room in their cephalothoraxes and some of their organs spill out into their legs due to their small size.
Most spiders’ brains are so tiny that they can fit on the tip of a pin or needle and are as small as a poppy seed.
The smaller the spider, the bigger its brain is relative to its size.
They use their brains quite well considering how small they really are compared to other larger animals found around the world.
Check out the diagram below that shows the internal anatomy of a spider with all the internal organs including their reproductive and digestive systems.
Original: John Henry Comstock Vector: Pbroks13 (Ryan Wilson), CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
What Does a Spider Brain Look Like?
A spider’s brain looks nothing like how you would expect a brain to be designed.
As you can see from the diagram above, a spider brain looks nothing like a human brain.
That is why some people may not even consider it a brain at all, but it is a brain nonetheless.
Spider brains are a collection of neural cells found in the cephalothorax. A spider’s central nervous system is made up of two nerve cell clusters called ganglia.
These clusters connect to nerves that lead to the muscles and sensory organs of spiders to handle all the functions necessary for spiders to hunt and move about in their environments.
Are Spiders Intelligent?
Spiders are very intelligent for their size. Most rely on their skills for hunting and spinning webs.
This requires a good amount of brain function even for a small brain such as the one found in spiders.
Spiders are able to complete complex tasks such as stalking and hunting prey, building and repairing webs, and even mimicking other insects in some cases.
The brains that spiders have aren’t complex but they have enough capacity to give spiders the ability to handle everything they need to survive and thrive within their environments.
Do Spiders Have Thoughts?
Spiders have cognitive abilities that can rival much bigger animals such as mammals and birds.
They have the ability to process, plan, learn, and can even be surprised at times.
While they may not have thoughts like you or I, they are very intelligent creatures that have the capabilities to handle difficult issues when hunting prey and avoiding predators.
It is unlikely that they have thoughts about the world in the way we do, but they are able to think well enough to adapt to their environments and change their hunting behavior based on what prey they are stalking.
Check out the diagram below that shows the external anatomy of a spider.
Not all spiders will look the same but this can give you a general idea of the various parts of the external body of a spider.
Can Spiders Remember?
The majority of spiders don’t have the capacity to remember. They won’t remember human faces because they don’t have good enough eyesight to distinguish the facial features of humans.
They do have spatial recognition and can create intricate webs and some can even judge distances and accurately attack their prey based on the distance between them.
Their brains are designed to give them the ability to survive in the wild and to be the best hunters to take down their prey.
Their brains were not designed to remember things because it is not necessary for their environments and everyday tasks.
What Spider Species is the Smartest Spider?
Here are some reasons that Portia spiders are considered the smartest spider species:
- They have the biggest brains among spiders relative to their size
- They utilize problem-solving when hunting prey
- They use indirect routes to stalk their prey
- They can pretend to be prey to trick other spiders
- They can mimic crumbled leaves due to their brown color
- They can judge the distance to precisely jump on their prey
- They can see in three dimensions which helps them judge distance and gives them a better view and understanding of their environment
- They have excellent eyesight and can use that eyesight to distinguish prey and other spiders from their own species
- They have social behavior not seen in many other spider species with subadult males and females living together and mating once they reach adulthood
To recap, spiders do have a brain and they utilize their brain very well.
Although spiders are small and have very small brains, they are capable of extraordinary tasks and can be excellent problem-solvers.
They can’t recognize or remember faces and don’t have the mental capacity to have thoughts like humans, but their brains are designed to make them effective hunters and to give them the ability to thrive in their environments.
They can utilize different skills and capabilities based on what prey they are stalking and some even have the ability to pretend to be prey or to disguise themselves as parts of the environment, pretending to be foliage or even mimicking other insects.
Some are smart enough to plan routes and to practice trial and error when hunting prey.
While they aren’t as smart as humans, their brain capacity is known to be far better than many other animals much bigger than them relative to their own size.
Thank you for checking out this article about spider brains.
If you enjoyed this article, you are sure to enjoy other articles about various spider parts, so check out that section and see what you find interesting.