8: Red spiders

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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Red Spiders
Original title: Spiders
They are six-legged spidersOriginal caption: They're not spiders; they have six legs!
Title text: They are six-legged spiders

Original caption: They're not spiders; they have six legs!


This was the eighth comic originally posted to LiveJournal. The previous one was 13: Canyon, and the next one was 6: Irony. It was among the first thirteen comics posted to LiveJournal within 12 minutes on September 30, 2005, on the first day of the xkcd LiveJournal account.

This comic is the first in an arc of comics, spaced out over 3 years (so far), in which Red Spiders are seen attacking humans. Its objective is not to be funny, philosophical, or scientifically interesting; it just tells a story, in a Questionable Content-esque way. Interestingly, the red spiders actually more closely resemble opiliones, the order of arachnids that includes the Daddy Longlegs, and which are actually more closely related to mites than to spiders.

The title text and the original caption note that the spiders in this comic have six legs, while most spiders have eight legs each.

The full series of Red Spiders comics:


[Many six-legged red spiders standing on and hanging from cuboids. The cuboids hang in the air with no visible means of support. Some of the spiders have made a bridge out of themselves.]

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In addition to 8 - Red spiders, Red spiders also appear in comic 42 - Red Spiders 2 and 126 - Red Spiders Cometh and are referenced in 77 - Counter-Red Spiders J-beda (talk) 01:51, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

The "cuboids" always reminded me of how I picture the "stars" in the Battle Room in Ender's Game -- mwburden 22:45, 13 December 2012 (UTC)

The drawing is reminiscent of M.C.Escher style, isn't it ? 19:58, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

But why *RED* spiders, or is there some reference that I am just too dense to fathom? 06:33, 25 October 2013 (UTC)

Sadly, mites are also 8-legged, so the below two comments aren't totally correct. ClashTheBunny (talk) 15:15, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

I came to this page to say there is an actual insect known colloquially as red spiders. Dad was telling me about how his azalea plants got something powdery on them which he took to the nursery for identification. The nursery guy freaked out and said it was a highly contagious mite infestation ('get that stuff away from here!'). Even though they are a mite they are sometimes known as red spiders. So I guess these 6-legged "spiders" are a thing. - loudwhitenoise 02:00, 23 March 2014 (UTC)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetranychus_urticae "common names include red spider mite" Mike (talk) 09:32, 27 March 2014 (UTC)

Runescape has 6-legged "Deadly Red Spiders" (http://runescape.wikia.com/wiki/Deadly_red_spider) Mountain Hikes (talk) 22:39, 22 August 2015 (UTC)

The spiders in the upper centre of the drawing are cooperating to form a bridge between two cubes. This is behaviour more commonly seen in ants which are six-legged. Many species of ant are red. However, there are spiders that cooperate. Out of some 45,000 known species of spiders, 23 are known to be social (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_spider). One of the most studied social spiders is Anelosimus eximius which is a red spider (http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20160122-meet-the-spiders-that-have-formed-armies-50000-strong). --DP9000 (talk) 01:05, 16 February 2016 (UTC)