WEBCAST: Powerful Predators - Adaptations of Trap-Jaw Spiders

Watch the archive of the webcast featuring Smithsonian entomologist Dr. Hannah Wood. In the show, Hannah explains how she studies tiny trap-jaw spiders, and how they hunt for prey.

Smithsonian Science How: Powerful Predators - Adaptations of Trap-Jaw Spiders 

Featuring Entomologist Hannah Wood

Meet Dr. Hannah Wood, an entomologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Find out how trap-jaw spiders prey on insects using a combination of stealth and power-amplified snapping jaws. Accompany Hannah on a journey to Chile and New Zealand to get a glimpse of these remarkable predators in action. Compare their hunting techniques with related spiders to understand more about spider diversity and evolution. See how Hannah uses 3-D modeling techniques to understand how spiders work.

Watch a recording of the January 12, 2017, webcast using the player above. The webcast aligns with national science standards.

How do you participate in the webcast program?

 1. WATCH the archive video above

   2. Get TEACHING RESOURCES for the webcast 

      3. Design an ASSESSMENT for your students


The Trap-jaw Spider Adaptations webcast package supports students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations by offering a set of resources that integrate science concepts with science practice skills.

MS-LS1 From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes

  • MS-LS1-4 Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively

MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem

MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • MS-LS4-2. Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships
  • MS-LS4-4 Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment