Behold, Spider-Man’s Terrifying Cousins

Yes, There’s A Hyphen

Spider-Man does whatever a spider can. Spins a web, any size. Catches thieves, just like flies. But to be clear, his name is Spider-Man, not Spiderman. Creator Stan Lee used the hyphen to differentiate the spelling from other superheroes like Superman, Batman, and Aquaman. We all know the nerdy Peter Parker got his powers after being bitten by a radioactive Achaearanea Tepidariorum—a common house spider. However, Spider-Man is fictional (dang). Let’s look at the names of some other spiders that are quite real.

Black Widow

This one is arguably the world’s most famous spider, possibly because of the memorable name. It’s said that they’re called “Black Widows” because just one bite can be fatal. The female is the one to look out for, noted for the red hourglass shape on her abdomen. She’s quite deadly, whereas males and juveniles are generally harmless. That’s not all. Sometimes she’ll kill and then eat her mate after mating. Bon Appétit!

Wolf Spider

Some sources say that the Wolf is one of the top ten most dangerous spiders in the world, but their bite, while painful, is not deadly. These guys don’t spin webs (like Spidey) but go out at night to hunt their prey, which is how they got their name “Wolf Spider.” And just to amp up the scary factor, they have eight eyes. They’re about half an inch to two inches long, with the usual complement of eight legs. The better to chase you with, my dear.

Hobo Spider

The Hobo Spider has nothing in common with the commonly-held definition of a hobo…which is a “tramp” or a “vagrant.” These spiders are called “hobos” because they’re solitary and live in dark, unlit areas. These brownish-rusty earth colored spiders are more aggressive than usual, due to their poor eyesight. Since they can’t see too well, Hobo Spiders attack by laying traps for their dinner to stumble upon. Oops.


An interesting name, no? Daddy long-legs are also called “harvestmen” due to their pesky prevalence during fall harvest season. But here’s the thing—as members of the order Opiliones, they’re not actually spiders, but are related more to scorpions, ticks, or mites. The reason they’re called “long legs” is obvious, but no one really knows where the “daddy” part came from.

Camel Spiders

Like camels, these spiders are found in sandy, desert areas. A lot of tall tales have been, um, spun about them over the years. Starting with the 1991 Gulf War, the legend was that these could run 25 miles per hour, jump several feet in the air, and eat the stomachs of camels, hence the name. Well, those are myths, thankfully. Camel spiders are nocturnal and like to hunt at night.

Sparklemuffin & Friends

There’s a species of peacock spider in Eastern Australia named Sparklemuffin, Skeletorus, and the elephant spider. Sparklemuffin (maratus jactatus) has a flashy look like a colorful sweater, Skeletorus (maratus sceletus) has white markings on dark limbs, hence the “skeleton” name, and the elephant spider (maratus elephans) has a decoration closely resembling, you guessed it, an elephant.

Now that we’ve learned about Spider-Man’s cousins, I think it’s time to search through our closets, garages, and nearby wooded areas to introduce ourselves! Who’s coming with? …Anyone?

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