Our Privacy/Cookie Policy contains detailed information about the types of cookies & related technology on our site, and some ways to opt out. By using the site, you agree to the uses of cookies and other technology as outlined in our Policy, and to our Terms of Use.


Are Spiders Vertebrates or Invertebrates?

i Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images

Determining whether a creature is a vertebrate or invertebrate may not be something you do on a daily basis, but it's worth knowing which creatures are which. The major difference is a backbone: invertebrates lack this bone structure. Spiders happen to be invertebrates, with a slew of their arthropod kin. In place of the backbone, spiders have rigid outer coatings.

Body Structure

Most invertebrates have what's called an exoskeleton, a protective, hardened outer coating. Vertebrates, on the other hand, have spinal columns and interior skeletal structure. Because their exoskeletons are on the outside and don't grow, spiders must molt, or shed their exoskeleton, a few times as they age. You may see spider "shells" in webs or other places after a molt. Other arthropods go through this process as well.