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Why do spiders have eight legs?
Question Date: 2020-01-09
Answer 1:

Spider is a type of arthropods. The word "arthropod" comes from Greek, meaning jointed feet. Arthropod body is segmented. In certain segments, there are paired appendages. It turned out that during the development, the arthropod embryo is also segmented. Each segment is called a somite. It turned out that a group of genes called homeobox genes regulate how each somite develops and only certain types of somite will eventually grow a pair of legs.

All animals except sponges and some jelly fishes have specific types of homeobox genes called Hox genes. They are responsible for how the animal body develop.

Hox genes produces types of proteins called transcription factors. Those transcription factors recognizes certain regions on the DNA called the homeobox and changes how the gene the homeobox is in are expressed.

Although there are very few experiment on the development of spiders, scientists have created fruit fly mutants with two pairs of legs and four pairs of legs.

In summary, a unique combination of Hox genes regulated spider's development and make them four pairs of legs.

Answer 2:

I'm not sure this question has an answer. Spiders have eight legs because their ancestors evolved legs in place of other body parts. It's the same answer for why scorpions have six legs or why mites have ten.

Answer 3:

Why do you have 2 legs? Why do my guinea pigs each have 4 legs? That's how we evolved, with different numbers of legs and body parts, based on how many legs and body parts our ancestors had. The spider ancestors with 8 legs had the most 'children'.

In the case of spider's 8 legs, one potential explanation is that this provides extra legs. Studies on spiders with 6 or more legs has found that they are just as good at making webs and catching food. Spiders can also release a leg if its caught by a predator to escape.

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