Do Spiders Have Lungs? Do They Seriously Need to Breathe?!

Spiders are feared by many, but the fascination for them has always been there for some of us like me.

And if you are like me, then you are always thinking of random questions. Questions like “Do spiders have lungs?“.

Well, at least I think about questions like that. But if another reason brought you here, don’t worry!

I have all the answers you need pertaining to spiders and their lungs (or lack thereof) including how many, where they’re located, what they’re called, how they work, and if all spiders have lungs – and so on.

But instead of me rambling on and on though, let’s just get right into the details!

Do Spiders Have Lungs?

Spiders “breathe” through their lungs or trachea. They have bodily systems that are similar to humans and other living things.

What makes spiders different is that they lack breathing muscles or a diaphragm to provide them with the ability to inhale and exhale as humans do.

Do Spiders Have Lungs?

Their organs are also arranged in a different manner and their lungs don’t function in the same way as ours.

Spiders usually have either one or two pairs of book lungs that are used for breathing.

They are called book lungs because they have an appearance that is similar to the folded pages of a book. But they also have a leaf-like appearance.

Camel spiders, belonging to the Solifugae order, have no lungs at all. But camel spiders aren’t scientifically classified as spiders anyway. People just put them in the spider group, but they do still belong to the class Arachnida.

How Many Lungs Do Spiders Have?

Most spiders will have between one and two pairs of lungs located in their abdomens.

Spiders rely on book lungs and/or rely on breathing through their tracheas (long, narrow tubes).

What Kind of Lungs Do Spiders Have?

Spiders have one to two sets of book lungs. As stated earlier, book lungs get their name because of the way they resemble a folded book.

Some refer to them as leaf-like structures since they also resemble a leaf.

Do Spiders Breathe?

How Do Spider Lungs Function?

Spiders are unique in how their lungs function. They breathe simultaneously with their lungs and tracheae, which is extremely important in spiders that have a more developed tracheal system.

Book lungs contain hollow plates that are soft and narrow. These thin lamella plates open through slits on a spider’s abdomen.

Oxygen and carbon dioxide are then exchanged with the spider’s hemolymph (similar to blood). Oxygen is taken in and carbon dioxide is expelled.

Since spiders don’t have any breathing muscles or diaphragms like humans, they can’t bring in (inhale and exhale) oxygen the same way we do.

Due to having no breathing muscles, their system is more of a passive system that requires no contractions for them to breathe.

Do Spiders Breathe?

Up to this point in the article, I have been discussing how spiders breathe and how their breathing works within their bodies.

However, spiders don’t really breathe. They have a passive system and no breathing muscles, so they have no way to suck oxygen into their lungs.

Instead, the air just flows in and out through the slits in their abdomens and is picked up by the spiders’ blood – which takes in the oxygen and gets rid of the carbon dioxide.

So they don’t technically breathe. Air just flows in naturally through the slits and nothing extra is required of them in that process.

Can Spiders Live Without Oxygen?

Spiders can’t survive forever without oxygen but they do have the capabilities of going a long time in an environment where oxygen is scarce and almost non-existent.

Spiders have the capability of surviving a month or longer in places where oxygen is very scarce.

If you put a spider in a container and put a lid on it, the spider isn’t going to die within a few minutes or hours like we would in a room with no oxygen.

It could take them months before they succumb to that kind of environment because they won’t be expending much energy due to their low metabolic rate from not moving around.

There will be enough oxygen trapped in the container that can sustain them for about a month, if not several.

Can Spiders Drown in Water?

Can Spiders Drown in Water?

Another popular question that gets asked a lot is “Can you drown a spider?“. Well, here is the answer but you are probably not going to like it if you are attempting to successfully drown a spider in your house.

Yes, you can indeed drown a spider, but it will take a long time and your patience will likely run out.

It takes spiders an hour or longer to drown when completely submerged in water. But here is the fun part!

Spiders that were assumed to be dead after being drowned have somehow miraculously come back to life after 24 to 48 hours have passed and they have completely dried out.

So, answer me this! Can you really drown a spider?

If you are trying to kill a spider in your house, drowning a spider is not going to be the best option for you.

Can You Keep a Spider Alive in a Jar?

If you are attempting to kill a spider by locking it in a jar, you will need to find a better way to kill the spider because it has the ability to survive up to a month in there with no oxygen due to its low metabolic rate and lack of movement and energy expenditure.

Some can even survive for several months in a jar even with the lid sealed nice and tight.

If you really want to kill a spider and do it in a somewhat humane way, you can catch it in something small about the size of a pill bottle.

Lock it in there and put it in your freezer for the night. The lower temperature will cause the spider’s body to react as if it were winter and knock it out.

Or you could just squish a spider if that works. It is instant – but more of a gruesome type of death.

If you are on the opposite end of the spectrum and are attempting to keep a spider in a jar as a pet, there’s really nothing wrong with using a jar.

Just ensure you have some holes in the jar or the lid, but not big enough for the spider to escape through. They can live in a jar that is sealed for a long time, but they can’t live forever in there without oxygen.


After reading this article, now you know spiders have lungs, what they are called (book lungs), and how they are used. You know how they work and how many of them they have.

You should now understand that spiders don’t really breathe because they have a passive oxygen system where the air just flows in and out through the tiny slits in spiders’ abdomens.

While they take in air, they don’t inhale and exhale because they have no diaphragm or other breathing muscles.

If you are trying to kill a spider, you should now understand that trying to drown it or lock it in a jar isn’t the best method to accomplish this.

Thanks for stopping by and reading the article. If you enjoyed what you read, check out other spider parts that you may like learning about.