MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: Do spiders have tongues?

Date: Fri Dec 22 11:39:48 2000
Posted By: David Richman, Staff, Entomology
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 977412348.Gb

Actually, no, spiders do not have a tongue in the same sense we do.   
Their mouthparts- chelicerae (fangs), endites or maxillae (modified bases 
or coxi of palpi), palpi (feelers) and labium (a sort of "tongue")-act to 
manipulate prey and form the mouth.   Only liquid food is ingested after 
the prey has been either mashed (macerated) by the chelicerae and possibly 
the endites and/or predigested by strong chemicals (enzymes) drooled on 
the prey from the mouth.  Some spiders do not have the ability to macerate 
prey (they lack teeth on the chelicerae). Thus spiders eat their food much 
as we would eat a slurpie!


Foelix, R. F. 1996. Biology of Spiders, 2nd ed. Oxford University Press, 
New York, NY.

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