This might seem like a dumb question, but I've been an arthropod enthusiast for some time now, but dont know much about arachnids. I was just wondering if someone could please define "true spider" for me? Thanks
The word "spider" is an English word subject to various interpretations, as indicated by the previous replies (neither one of which is "wrong"). The standard international equivalent used by scientists is "araneid," applicable to all members of the order Araneae, including tarantulas or mygalomorphs. I know of no one researching these animals who makes a point of separating the Araneae into "true spiders" and "false spiders."
I'm fairly certian he's not going to know what Araneae means, folks.
Gunslinger had it about correct. True spiders have opposing mouthparts. That's the easiest way to tell them apart from the meglamorphs. They also have downward facing spinerettes, and completely differently shaped spinerettes than the tarantulas, trapdoor spiders, etc.