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The spiders belonging to the family Scytodidae, commonly known as Spitting Spiders, are some strange arachnids. Not only do they have six eyes instead of the usual eight, but they hunt by “spitting” a mixture of sticky silk and venom onto their prey! There are over 250 different species of Spitting Spiders, all of which grow to about 6mm in length.

Spitting Spider carrying an egg sac (the white thing).

To hunt, the Spitting Spider slowly creeps to about 1/3 of an inch away from its target, and when its ready, shoots a stream of silky fluid out of its fangs and onto its target in a zigzag pattern, effectively gluing the prey item, such as an ant, to the ground. The Spitting Spider then cautiously moves in and administers a killing bite, then backs away to wait until the venom does its work and the prey stops moving before starting to eat it. 

The front of a Spitting Spider. Note the three groups of two eyes on the cephalothorax.

Sadly, Spitting Spitting spiders are often killed by humans because they are mistaken for Brown Recluse Spiders, because of their brown coloration and six eyes, but in reality, Spitting Spiders are completely harmless. To tell these two apart, look for the signature dome-shaped cephalothorax of the Spitting Spider. Spitting Spiders can be found on most continents, including North America, where they live under rocks, logs, or in and around homes, where they capture and eat pest insects such as cockroaches, flies, and termites.