Difference Between Spider and Tarantula

Spider vs Tarantula

Spider and Tarantula share many things, while certain characters are strangely different in tarantulas from the spiders. Spiders in general, and tarantulas in particular, sound ridiculously dangerous because of their venom. However, spiders and especially tarantulas, are seriously popular among people as pets. Therefore, it is important to discuss their significance with regard to their biology. However, despite their terrifying characters, people in Cambodia cook tarantulas as a popular food.


Spiders belong in the Order: Aranae of Class: Arachnida among Arthropods. There are over 40,000 species of spiders, which is the seventh largest diversification among all the living animal groups. Spiders have a unique body organization with tagmatization (fusing of body parts) into two, Prosoma (head and thorax) and opisthosoma (abdomen). Some spiders have hairy bodies while some are do not. The most special thing about the spiders is their silk, secreted from spinnerets in the abdomen, to make spider webs for prey capture. Usually, there are six spinnerets in the abdomen of a spider. The amount of sticky silk used, shapes, and sizes of webs vary drastically with the species. All the spiders are predators; they can prey upon any animal within their grasp. However, there was one vegetarian spider (Neotropical jumping spider) described in 2008 (Meehan et al, 2008). Most of the spiders are non-social, while there are some existing communal species. Generally, spiders have fangs associated with venom glands and those could get as dangerous as deadly for a human in many cases. The female has a silk sac to keep eggs and people have observed their mothering with sharing food with the newborn spiders. Spiders play a considerable role in the ecosystem as well as with the people. Their general lifespan is about two years.


Tarantulas sound more dangerous due to their ferocious appearance with many hairs on the body. They are a group of spiders (Order: Theraphosidae) with about 900 species. Tarantulas are large with a body length of 10 centimetres from head to tip of abdomen and a leg span of one foot. Body can weigh as high as over 100 grams. However, the Goliath Bird eater has a record of 150 grams of weight. Tarantulas are hairy bodied, which makes them look dreadful, and the barbs on the abdomen are instrumental in warding-off of their predators by a special way. They can send those barbs in a blink of an eye towards their predator. Some tarantula species are capable of producing silk from their feet (Gorb et al, 2009), which helps in climbing smooth surfaces and this is a unique character for them. There are either two or four spinnerets in the abdomen of tarantulas, and males have specialized spinnerets around the genital opening to exude silk for the sperm web. No tarantula is known to be herbivorous. They are very popular as pets and extensively bred in captivity for the pet trade. The lifespan of a tarantula could go up to 25 years.

What is the difference between Spider and Tarantula?

- Both these are spiders, but tarantulas are special type of them.

- Tarantulas are usually larger than many of the spiders.

- Not all the spiders are necessarily hairy-bodied, whereas tarantulas are always.

- The herbivory is present among spiders albeit, not among tarantulas.

- The numbers of silk exuding tube-like structures, called spinnerets, are different among them as spiders have six, while tarantulas have only two or four.

- Spiders exude silk to make webs to capture prey, whereas tarantulas do that for carpeting of floor of the nest and make hammock-like bedding for resting.

- Additionally, the silk producing glands in the feet are unique for the tarantulas.

- Presence of barbs on the fleshy abdomen is another distinguishing feature of the tarantulas.

- The lifespan is very long and economic value as a pet is very high for tarantulas compared to spiders.