Uncover the Surprising Answer to ‘How Many Teeth Do Spiders Have?’

» Anatomy » Uncover the Surprising Answer to ‘How Many Teeth Do Spiders Have?’

We’ve all heard the stories about spiders, from the dreaded black widow to the more harmless daddy longlegs, but one mystery has always remained: how many teeth do spiders have? Though spiders are not typically thought of as having teeth, they actually have a specialized mouthpart called chelicerae that acts as a kind of jaw with a pair of tiny fangs at the end. The fangs allow spiders to inject venom and capture prey, but they can also be used to help them eat. So, how many teeth do spiders have? The answer may surprise you.

Anatomy of a Spider

Anatomy Of A Spider

  • Eyes: Spiders have eight eyes, arranged in two rows.
  • Chelicerae: The chelicerae are the spider’s mouthparts, located at the front of the body. They contain fangs, which can inject venom into prey.
  • Pedipalps: These are the appendages located just below the chelicerae. They are used for sensing the environment and grasping prey.
  • Legs: Spiders have eight legs, all of which have numerous sensory hairs. These hairs help the spider detect chemical, tactile, and vibrations in the environment.
  • Abdomen: The abdomen contains the spider’s digestive, respiratory, and reproductive organs. It is also where the spider stores its silk glands.

Types of Spider Teeth

Types Of Spider Teeth


Spiders have two sets of cuspids in their mouth. These cuspids are shaped like tiny curved fangs, and they are used to puncture prey and inject venom.


The chelicerae are a pair of sharp, curved appendages that extend from the mouth. These are used to tear apart prey, and they also have small teeth on them.

Teeth on the Legs

Spiders also have teeth on the legs, which they use to climb and grip prey. These teeth are very small and are not used for feeding.

How Many Teeth Do Spiders Have?

Spiders have a unique set of teeth that allow them to tear and chew their prey. These teeth are called chelicerae, and they come in two pairs on either side of the spider’s mouth. The chelicerae are connected to powerful muscles and are used to inject venom into the prey.

Each spider chelicerae is made up of two parts – the basal segment and the fang. The basal segment is a flat, curved plate that helps to keep the fang in place and is covered in many small spines. The fang is the sharp, pointed part of the chelicerae, which is used to puncture the prey and inject venom.

The fang has a pair of tiny teeth known as the retromolars. These retromolars are used to hold the prey while the spider is feeding. The exact number of retromolars varies between spider species, but they usually range from two to eight.

In addition to the retromolars, some spiders also have a few larger teeth along the inner edge of the fang. These are known as the denticles, and their function is still unknown. Some scientists believe that they may help to keep the prey in place, while others think that they may help to break down the prey’s exoskeleton.

So, to answer the question, how many teeth do spiders have? The answer is that most spiders have two to eight retromolars on their chelicerae, plus a few larger denticles. These teeth are used to help the spider catch and eat its prey.

Function of Spider Teeth

Function Of Spider Teeth

Spiders have two sets of teeth, located on the chelicerae, which are the appendages located near the spider’s mouth. The first set of teeth are called cuspules, and they’re used to hold prey in place. The second set of teeth, called rastellum, are used for cutting and tearing prey into smaller pieces.

Teeth Type Function
Cuspules Hold prey in place
Rastellum Cut and tear prey

The number of these teeth varies between species and may be as few as none or as many as hundreds. The cuspules are usually the larger and simpler set of teeth and can range from 0-10 in number. They are usually curved and have a single point at the tip. The rastellum, on the other hand, are the smaller, more complex set of teeth and usually range from 0-25 in number. They are usually straight and have two pointed tips.


Spiders do not have teeth like humans, but they have cuspids that are used to bite, chew, and manipulate prey. Cuspids are typically found on the front of the spider’s mouth and are used to hold and tear food. They are sharp and pointed and can look like spikes. Spiders have multiple cuspids depending on their species, and some species may have more than others. The number of cuspids can vary from one to several hundred.

2. Chelicerae

2. Chelicerae

Spiders have two chelicerae, which are appendages that they use to catch and manipulate their prey. The chelicerae are equipped with numerous small teeth, called denticles, which are arranged in a saw-like pattern. These denticles are used to cut and tear the prey. The number of denticles on each chelicera varies; some species have more than 200 denticles, while others may have fewer than 50.

Species Number of Denticles
Tegenaria domestica 80-110
Latrodectus mactans 100-200
Loxosceles reclusa 60-70
Nephila clavipes 200-250

3. Teeth on the Legs

3. Teeth On The Legs
Spiders have a set of teeth on their legs called cuspules. These cuspules are arranged in irregular rows of three or four and are located on the tarsi, which is the last joint of the leg. Cuspules are used to help the spider grip its prey and hold it in place while feeding. They can also be used to help the spider climb surfaces like branches or walls. The cuspules are made of hard chitin and are usually very small and hard to see.

The Role of Spider Teeth in Hunting

  • Spiders use their large, sharp fangs to catch, hold and immobilize their prey.
  • The fangs of a spider are located at the tip of their chelicerae, which are the front appendages on their heads.
  • The fangs are connected to venom glands, which secrete a venom into the prey.
  • The venom can cause paralysis, allowing the spider to easily wrap the prey in a web for later consumption.
  • The venom also helps to liquefy the prey, making it easier for the spider to consume.
  • In some species, the venom may also be used to deter predators.
  • Spiders also use their chelicerae to manipulate prey and webs, as well as to detect vibrations in their environment.

The Role of Spider Teeth in Building Webs

Spiders have two types of teeth on their chelicerae (also known as pedipalps), that are used to build webs and capture prey. The first type of teeth are the cuspules, which are small, sharp points that are used to grip and manipulate silk threads. The second type of teeth are the retromers, which are larger and flatter, and are used to pull the silk threads tight when weaving the web.

Type of Teeth Features Function
Cuspules Small, sharp points Grip and manipulate silk threads
Retromers Larger and flatter Pull silk threads tight when weaving the web

The cuspules are used to create the sticky threads of the web, while the retromers are used to pull the threads tight, which increases the strength and stability of the web. Spiders also use their chelicerae to help them weave the web, as they are able to sense the tension of the threads. This means that spiders can adjust the tension of the web by using their chelicerae, ensuring that it is strong enough to catch prey.

In addition to helping with web building, the teeth on a spider’s chelicerae are also used to capture and subdue prey. The cuspules can be used to pierce the skin of prey, and the retromers can be used to hold them in place while the spider injects venom.

Overall, spider teeth are essential for building webs, as well as capturing and subduing prey. Without them, spiders would be unable to build the intricate webs they are known for, or capture their prey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of teeth do spiders have?

Spiders have chelicerae, which are fang-like appendages that contain venom glands and are used to inject prey with venom. Chelicerae typically have two sharp ‘teeth’ on their tips, but the number and arrangement can vary considerably depending on the species.

How do spiders use their teeth?

Spiders use their teeth, known as chelicerae, to inject venom into their prey and to tear apart their food. Chelicerae are hollow and contain a venom duct, which is connected to venom glands. These glands produce venom, which is then injected into the prey as the spider bites down with its chelicerae. In addition, the chelicerae are used to chew and tear apart food, such as other insects and small animals.

How are spider teeth different from the teeth of other animals?

Spider teeth are much smaller and more numerous than the teeth of other animals, numbering between 200 and 400 compared to the typical 32-42 of mammals. Spider teeth are typically pointed and curved, and are used to puncture and hold prey in place while the spider injects it with venom. The teeth are also used to tear and shred food before digestion.

Do all spiders have the same number of teeth?

No, spiders do not all have the same number of teeth. The number of teeth can vary depending on the species of spider and their stage of life. Most spiders have three or four rows of teeth, but some species have more. Older spiders typically have more teeth than younger spiders.

Do Spiders Have Fangs as Well as Teeth?

Spiders have fangs which are specialised structures used for injecting venom and subduing prey. They have a pair of fangs which are supported by an internal hydraulics system and are often retractable. These fangs are like a pair of hypodermic needles, and are used to inject venom into prey, allowing the spider to paralyse their meal. Spiders also have teeth which are used for chewing, but these are usually too small to be seen with the naked eye.


Spiders have eight mouthparts, which include the chelicerae and pedipalps, but no true teeth. Chelicerae are used to pierce and hold prey while the pedipalps are used to manipulate and crush prey. Spiders have a variety of other structures used to manipulate and ingest food, such as special setae, rods, setules, and hooks. Despite the lack of true teeth, spiders are able to successfully capture and consume prey.

Leave a Comment