The Friendly Neighborhood Hero

Kelly’s Field Notes

Super Hero: Spider-Man (aka Peter Parker)

Species Comparisons: Spiders (Order Araneae)

First Comic Appearance: The anthology comic book Amazing Fantasy #15 (August 1962)

Spider-Man’s Power Set:

  • Intelligence

  • Strength

  • Web slinging

  • Agility

  • Wall crawling

  • Awareness

  • Speed

  • Healing

  • Pincers

Real Spider Powers:

  • Intelligence - jumping spiders from genus Portia have been observed problem solving and learning

  • Strength - tiny jumping spiders can catch and kill prey many times they're size, so can black widows and some orb weavers

  • Web slinging - spiders create several different types of webs

  • Agility - spiders can quickly adjust mid -movement to escape predators or catch prey

  • Wall crawling - spider setae, or tiny hairs, help them stick to walls and other surfaces

  • Awareness - spiders have a wide range of senses to feel and see the world around them

  • Speed - spiders are able to cover long distances in only a few seconds

  • Mandibles/Fangs - spiders have sharp and strong mandibles and fangs, some capable of going through the tough carapace of pill bugs (terrestrial isopods)

  • Venom - spider venom runs the spectrum of harmless, to irritating, to deadly, depending on species

  • Pheromones - some species of bolas spider can trick male moths into believing they are female moths, luring them into a trap

  • Camouflage - crab spiders can change their color to suit their environment, often we see them on flowers that are white, yellow, or orange in color

  • Dance moves - male spiders engage in courtship behaviors to attract females, male peacock spiders, for example, perform elaborate dances flailing their limbs and bouncing their abdomens

How Does Spider-Man Compare With Real Spiders?:

There are a lot of similarities! Overall, Spider-Man has all of the basic spider abilities; strength, webbing, speed, agility, and “spidey senses.” Peter is missing some of the more interesting powers, such as camouflage and venom, but these qualities are picked up in other spider people (Miles Morales, for example, can become invisible which reminds us of the crab spider on a flower). While dance moves are not specifically a power, we do see Peter get his groove on in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3 (2007).

How He Rated on the Podcast -

Kelly - 8/8 legs

Amanda - 8/8 legs

Recommended Comics:

Lee, Stan, and Steve Ditko. "Spiderman, Amazing Fantasy# 15." Marvel Comics, New York (1962). - The first appearance of Spider-Man

Lee, Deodato, Straczynski, and Garney. "Amazing Spider-Man #529-538." Marvel Comics, New York (1999). - Civil War run, Kelly's pick.


Barth, Friedrich G. "Spider senses–technical perfection and biology." Zoology 105.4 (2002): 271-285.

Cross, Fiona R., et al. "Arthropod intelligence? The case for Portia." Frontiers in Psychology 11 (2020): 2573.

Haynes, K. F., et al. "Aggressive chemical mimicry of moth pheromones by a bolas spider: how does this specialist predator attract more than one species of prey?." Chemoecology 12.2 (2002): 99-105.

Hurst, Jacob A., and Linda S. Rayor. "Effects on running speed of changes in sexual size dimorphism at maturity on in the cursorial huntsman spider, Delena cancerides (Sparassidae)." Journal of Comparative Physiology A 207.2 (2021): 269-277.

Lee, Stan, and Steve Ditko. "Spiderman, Amazing Fantasy# 15." Marvel Comics, New York (1962).

Liu, Z. H., et al. "Biochemical and pharmacological study of venom of the wolf spider Lycosa singoriensis." Journal of Venomous Animals and Toxins including Tropical Diseases 15 (2009): 79-92.

Marvel. “Today in Marvel History: Spider-Man’s First Appearance.” Marvel Entertainment, 5 June 2019,

Patel, K. D., et al. "The necrotic venom of the brown recluse spider induces dysregulated endothelial cell-dependent neutrophil activation. Differential induction of GM-CSF, IL-8, and E-selectin expression." The Journal of clinical investigation 94.2 (1994): 631-642.

Poerschke, Bastian, Stanislav N. Gorb, and Clemens F. Schaber. "Adhesion of individual attachment setae of the spider Cupiennius salei to substrates with different roughness and surface energy." Frontiers in Mechanical Engineering 7 (2021): 55.

Riou, Mickaël, and Jean-Philippe Christidès. "Cryptic color change in a crab spider (Misumena vatia): identification and quantification of precursors and ommochrome pigments by HPLC." Journal of chemical ecology 36.4 (2010): 412-423.

Rohou, A., J. Nield, and Y. A. Ushkaryov. "Insecticidal toxins from black widow spider venom." Toxicon 49.4 (2007): 531-549.

“Spider-Man (Peter Parker) in Comics Powers, Villains, Enemies | Marvel.” Marvel Entertainment,

“Spider-Man (Peter Parker) on Screen Profile | Marvel.” Marvel Entertainment,

Utah State University. “Woodlouse Spider - School IPM - USU Extension.” USU,

Yirka, Bob. Tiny Jumping Spiders Found Preying on Frogs and Lizards. 14 Aug. 2017,