Do Spiders Like the Cold?

Are spiders cold-blooded? Some species of arachnids, such as the fishing spider, live through freezing temperatures, but others are unable.

When the weather gets cold, some spiders enter a state of torpor. In this state, the spider slows down its body and produces a chemical called polyhydroxy alcohol. This chemical prevents ice crystals from forming inside the spider. It also helps the spider conserve energy during the cold season.

The female spider selects a warm place to lay her eggs. The spider lays its eggs on leaf litter, rotted logs, or in the bark of trees. Some species of arachnids, however, are ectothermic, which means they can change their body temperature as needed. They may bask in the sun if it’s too cold, or they may stay under rocks if they’re too hot.

Some spiders, such as the eastern parson spider, crawl beneath tree bark to avoid the chilling air. The spiders spin a thin silk casing to protect themselves. They will also let snow build over their web sacs for insulation.

Another species, the tarantula, uses torpor to survive cold temperatures. In addition, some species of spider produce glycol compounds, which are similar to antifreeze in car engines. These compounds prevent ice from forming inside the spider.

Most species of spiders will enter diapause, or a dormant phase, when the weather begins to cool. They will slow down and become dormant, and they might emerge on warmer days to hunt for food.

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