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Spiders! Guide & Resources

Meet some of the 39,000 known spider species -- including a few of the world's largest tarantulas, and cyberspiders that live inside computers. And, learn about a high-tech solution to the ancient fear of spiders, arachnophobia.

Here are the topics and running times of stories on this show and a brief description of related activities you'll find in this online teaching guide:

  • Spin, Spin, Spin (running time: 10:38) -- Digital spiders that live inside computers can tell us much about how spiders spin webs, and how their webs might have evolved. Activities and Discussion: Model an orb-weaver's web, test web models in a web research lab.

  • Song and Dance (running time: 9:14) -- Meet Portia, a stealthy jumping spider that sends out deceptive signals to fool the enemy. Activity and Discussion: Calculate population data.

  • Spider Canyon (running time: 12:10) -- Scientists may be on the verge of witnessing the evolution of a new species among funnel-web spiders in Arizona. Activity and Discussion: Create spider trading cards.

  • Amazon Tales (running time: 10:33) -- Travel along a river in Ecuador, where spiders live in colonies. Meet a variety of tarantulas, including a new species named for Alan Alda. Activity and Discussion: Design a spider and select its adaptations.

  • Arachnophobia (running time: 9:24) -- Find out how science is treating arachnophobia, an ancient fear, with 20th-century virtual reality. Activity and Discussion: Spider Jeopardy!

  • Viewer Challenge -- After you watch Spiders!, test your viewing skills with ten questions about the show!


Scientific American Frontiers
Fall 1990 to Spring 2000
Sponsored by GTE Corporation,
now a part of Verizon Communications Inc.