Do Spiders Have Tails? Debunking the Eight-Legged Myth

Do Spiders Have Tails? Debunking the Eight-Legged Myth

Spiders are fascinating creatures that have instilled fear in humans for centuries. From their eight legs to their enigmatic spinnerets, spiders have always been a topic of discussion among children and adults alike. Despite the numerous scientific studies that have been conducted on spiders, there is still a popular myth that is believed by many people: Spiders have tails. In this article, we will debunk this myth by looking at some of the misconceptions surrounding spider anatomy, behavior, and evolution.

What is a spider tail?

Before we delve into the myth of spider tails, we should first define what a tail is. A tail is a long, slender extension of an animal’s body, usually located at the rear. Tails serve different purposes, such as balance, communication, and locomotion, depending on the animal in question. In mammals, tails are used for a variety of functions, including swatting flies, controlling body temperature, and signaling. In reptiles and birds, tails are used for steering during flight and locomotion on the ground.

The myth of spider tails

The myth of spider tails has been perpetuated by various media outlets, including movies, cartoons, and comic books. In popular culture, spiders are often depicted with tails resembling those of scorpions. This notion has misled many people into believing that spiders possess a tail-like appendage at the end of their abdomen. The truth, however, is that spiders do not have tails.

Spider anatomy

In order to understand why spiders do not have tails, we must first look at their anatomy. Spiders belong to the arachnid family, which includes scorpions, ticks, and mites. Unlike insects, arachnids have two main body parts: the cephalothorax and the abdomen. The cephalothorax contains the brain, eyes, mouthparts, and walking legs, while the abdomen houses the respiratory and reproductive systems. Nowhere in the abdomen is there any structure that resembles a tail.


One of the reasons why people believe that spiders have tails is because of their spinnerets. Spinnerets are structures located at the tip of the abdomen that produce silk. Spider silk is a remarkable substance that has a variety of functions, including trapping prey, constructing webs, and protecting eggs. However, spinnerets are not tails. Spinnerets are a part of the spider’s anatomy that is used for survival, not locomotion or communication.

Why do people believe in spider tails?

The myth of spider tails can be traced back to a misunderstanding of arachnid diversity. While most spiders do not possess tails, some members of the arachnid family do have slender, tail-like structures called pedipalps. Pedipalps are located in front of the spider’s walking legs and are used for hunting, mating, and communication. Some people may have mistaken pedipalps for tails, leading to the spread of the spider tail myth.


In conclusion, spiders do not have tails. The myth of spider tails is a result of a misunderstanding of spider anatomy and arachnid diversity. While spiders are fascinating creatures with numerous unique traits and abilities, a tail is not one of them. Next time you come across a spider, remember that it does not have a tail, despite what popular culture might have led you to believe.


Here are some common questions about spider tails:

  • Do spiders have tails?
  • No, spiders do not have tails.

  • Are pedipalps the same as tails?
  • No, pedipalps are slender, tail-like structures that are located in front of the spider’s walking legs. They are not used for locomotion or communication.

  • Why do people believe in spider tails?
  • People may have mistaken pedipalps for tails or have been misled by popular culture.


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Harland, D. P., Giribet, G., & Sharma, P. P. (2019). Complex and parallel morphological diversification of eyes among velvet spiders (Arachnida, Araneae, Dionycha). Evolution, 73(5), 1045-1061.

Penney, D., Dierick, M., & Cazes, J. (2018). Photographing spiders: Using micro‐CT to non‐destructively investigate the internal anatomy of Loxosceles rufescens (Dufour, 1820) (Araneae: Sicariidae). Journal of Microscopy, 272(2), 148-155.

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