WEBCAST: Powerful Predators - Adaptations of Trap-Jaw Spiders

Hannah Wood lying down on the forest floor sucking through a tube to capture spiders from a dirt pile.

Dr. Hannah Wood lying on the forest floor, suctioning up spiders for further study. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Stone.


The January 12 webcasts with Smithsonian entomologist Hannah Wood have ended. Watch recordings using the links below, and then take the webcast survey and tell us how we did!

- 11AM Show - Powerful Predators - Adaptations of Trap-Jaw Spiders

- 2PM Show - Powerful Predators - Adaptations of Trap-Jaw Spiders

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.

How do you participate in the webcast program?

 1. WATCH the recorded webcasts using the links above

   2. Get TEACHING RESOURCES for the webcast 

      3. Design an ASSESSMENT for your students

         4. Take the webcast SURVEY

               5. Consult the webcast TECH GUIDE (PDF)


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