Follow TV Tropes


Spider Limbs

Go To
Spider-Man, Spider-Man
Now he walks like a spider can...
Sandman: So, uh, Doc, what's with the arms?
Dr. Octopus: These? Uh, well, they allow me to multitask, manipulate difficult objects, [quietly] and of course maintain a safe distance...

Spiders are creepy. People with spider legs growing out of their body much more so. It does have a few perks, though. Characters who have an extra set of spidery appendages can often use them to scuttle about on walls and ceilings freely, jump great distances, and even reach the jar of cookies hidden on the top shelf!

These spider limbs can also be used instead of walking on human legs, giving the character an extra meter or two of height, and almost seeming to float. These limbs can be of any make. Maybe they're Artificial Limbs, Combat Tentacles with Mundane Utility, or even inky tendrils born of the deepest darkness. Though for some reason they're always attached/growing out of the small of the back.

The limbs aren't usually prehensile, and the more insectoid-looking ones are in fact often depicted with pointed tips, which isn't true to arachnid anatomy. Some of the stranger variants are equipped with claws, hands, or cartoon strength static cling that allows the limbs to manipulate objects. Likewise, tentacle rather than spider based limbs can also be used as Tentacle Ropes.

Usually, this is exclusively a case of Bad Powers, Bad People due to the spider/octopus/tentacle factor. Still, there are cases of Dark Is Not Evil.

Not to be confused with Multi-Armed and Dangerous, but may overlap if the extra combat arms can also be used to scuttle around.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Buso Renkin: Tokiko's buso renkin, the Valkyrie Skirt, takes the form of four scythe-like blades that latch onto her legs and are controlled by nerve impulses through her skin. Over the course of the series she is shown using these limbs to move over difficult terrain, break her fall, and climb up walls and ceiling.
  • Inuyasha: The Big Bad Naraku and his Combat Tentacles fall into this category. Though there is a certain element of Body Horror for sure, the underlying theme is definitely arachnid in nature as he was once a human named Onigumo (demon spider) and all of his incarnations manifest a spider on their backs.
  • Nakua from Princess Resurrection and Naqua-Den does this by growing turning her hair into spider legs to either attack someone or just do something mundane.
  • Medusa in Soul Eater utilises this as well, as part of her snake/arrow themed powers. She can balance on her tail and create many "snake" arrows that sprout out of her back, among other uses.
  • Kidomaru from Naruto has two extra pairs of arms, which essentially gave him a total of eight appendages, relating to his spider theme.
  • General Ripper Onigumo from One Piece has implicitly eaten a Devil Fruit which allows him to turn into a Spider-Human hybrid. Most of the time, it appears to mix this trope with Prehensile Hair (the arms sprout from his hair on his back) so that he can wield six more sabers in combat.
  • In Toriko, minor villain Boneless is a massive man with a centipede-like bug wrapped around his body and on his head. When he fights, he sprouts thousands of centipede-like legs all over his body... which doesn't do a thing to stop Toriko from smashing his head and torso into oblivion.
  • In Psyren, chimeric Taboo Gordov sprouts a set of spider limbs tipped with human nails from his back to shoot beams of compressed Psi. Near the very end of the manga, we see the real Big Bad Mithra collecting and swallowing the core of Quat Nevas, a shapeless mass sprouting thin spidery limbs. When she transforms, she grows massive spider limbs from her body which allows her to channel blasts of Psi.

    Comic Books 
  • Spider-Man: A lot of instances of this trope have cropped up over the comic's history.
    • Firstly, there's arch enemy Doctor Octopus and his four back-mounted mechanical tentacles.
    • Then there's the Iron Spider armor Tony Stark gives Spider-Man in the Civil War has three retractable arms.
    • There's also Midnight Sons rogue Spider-X, who has bony spider-limbs.
    • Pre-dating the Civil War Iron Spider armor, a possible future Spider-Man was shown to be a genius with Powered Armor using a similar system to Doc Ock's. Interestingly, the future Goblin serving as his nemesis had equivalent technology on her armor as well.
    • Spider-Man once had a teenage fanboy named Ollie Osnick who built himself a set of mechanical spider legs and tried to become Spidey's sidekick. Since he was a clumsy, out-of-shape teenager with no combat experience, it was a good thing that Spider-Man was able to talk him out of it before he hurt himself. A few years later, he reemerged as the Steel Spider, having gotten into shape and learned some hand-to-hand fighting ability in the interim. After beating up some guys who'd attacked his girlfriend, he decided to hang up the costume but then reemerged during the Civil War on the anti-registration side. His super-hero career apparently ended when he fought the Thunderbolts and Venom bit off and ate one of his arms and he was imprisoned in the Negative Zone.
    • The Superior Spider-Man adds similar waldoes to his second costume. Makes sense, since he's actually Doctor Octopus after stealing Spidey's body and life. They are destroyed during the "Goblin Nation" arc.
    • The third and fourth Spider-Woman both possessed these at different points. Originally they were a power of Charlotte Witter (Spider-Woman IV), as a result of genetic manipulation by Doc Ock. After a lot of back-and-forth power-stealing, the limbs — along with the other powers of all three other "Spider-Women" — ended up with Mattie Franklin (Spider-Woman III).
    • This has happened to Spidey before, but he managed to cure his condition thanks to the help of Dr. Curt Connors (a.k.a. the Lizard).
  • X-Men:
    • The X-Force villain Forearm was so-named because... well, you can figure it out.
    • The villain Mojo moves around on robotic spider legs, as his species has no spine.
  • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): The manticore that attacks Diana when she leaves the city of Themyscira to explore the island as a child has six sharp spider-like legs growing out of its shoulders.

    Fan Works 
  • One famous fanmade depiction of Destoroyah, the eponymous villain of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah, gave it legs like these rather than the traditional man-in-suit ones. This could arguably be a nod to the fact that according to the movie itself, Destoroyah is descended from an ancient relative of crustaceans.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Avengers: Infinity War, the Iron Spider suit Tony gives Peter turns out to have these, just like in the comics.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005): Humma Kavula has a mostly human upper half on top of a bundle of spindly mechanical limbs.
  • The Thing (1982) features a scene with a disembodied head growing a set of Spider Limbs after its original infected corpse becomes compromised.
    • Following up on this, manifestations of the same shape-changing creature in the prequel featured similar crab- or spider-legs sprouting out of bodies or parts thereof.
  • Wild Wild West: Dr. Loveless, keeping with his spider theme, unveils a set of four steampunk spider legs when his wheelchair gets stuck during the climax.
  • Slender Man has a scene in which the Slender Man walks on extra limbs growing from his back, calling to mind old mythos photoshops.

  • In Quest for the Fallen Star, the "Tenebrite" variant of Ill-creature is usually humanoid, but can morph its lower body into a set of spider legs.
  • The Sister Verse and the Talons of Ruin has the Lord in White, who can peel its true shadow off of any surface to form spider-like legs, usually used for impaling people.
  • In This Alien Shore, one of the Variants has pairs of extra legs jutting out from his torso. He walks on all eights like a spider.
  • In the Warhammer 40,000 novel series Soul Drinkers, Sarpedon's mutation is his legs turning into eight large spider-like legs. They prove to be extremely useful as the series progresses, and after Sarpedon is captured by the Imperial Fists, an Apothecary remarks that he finds Sarpedon's inhuman pelvic structure fascinating and looks forward to hanging it on his wall after Sarpedon's execution.

    Live-Action Television 
  • Angel: The demons who were Jasmine's previous worshipers in season 4 had lower bodies with four of these type of legs.
  • The Spider Dalek emerged while developing a proposed revival of Doctor Who in the mid-1990s.
  • The Sci Fi Science episode "How to Build a Super Suit" had Dr. Michio Kaku's design, which included a pair of extensible robotic arms attached to the back and controlled by the user's brain. Dr. Kaku even mentioned Dr. Octopus by name. The arm control system is fully within the realm of current, or at most, 20 Minutes into the Future science. A early version's been done with chimpanzees.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Demon: The Fallen: The Fiends (Neberu) are associated with spiders (since they were the ones who "webbed" the entire universe together on the Fourth Day of Creation) and therefore prone to growing an extra pair of hands in their High-Torment Apocalyptic Forms.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Book of Vile Darkness sourcebook has a spell that gives the caster a set of four giant spider legs. This lets them climb, move quicker, and raise their body out of the way of enemy attacks.
    • The Song and Silence sourcebook features the Fang of Lolth prestige class, which culminates with fully functional Half-Human(oid) Hybrid/Spider limbs.
  • Exalted:
    • The Terrestrial Circle Sorcery spell Lightning Spider gives the caster eight extra spiderlike limbs made of lightning!
    • Alchemicals can achieve this with Manifold Transhuman Implants, and the signature Apostate has modified himself into a full-on mechanical drider.
  • In the Infernum D20 setting, this is the effect of the first mutation for the Chain of the Spider. The demon (or fallen angel, or corrupted human) sprouts a number of secondary appendages to give them eight limbs in total — of themselves, however, they simply make it easier for the character to climb; it takes the Chain of Multiple Arms mutations to make them strong enough to be used in combat or for tasks.
  • Pathfinder: Jorogumos are Always Female humanoids resembling beautiful women with eight retractable spider arms extending from their backs, which when extended give them a significant bonus when climbing and let them deflect arrows.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Occasionally found on tech-priests of the Imperium. Mechandrites, which are cybernetic tentacles tipped with various useful things (manipulators, specific tools, weapons, etc) are a de-facto cyber implant amongst their ranks.
    • Techmarines (Space Marines who also function as tech-priests) often have a large servo-harness mounted on their power armor with multiple grasping arms.

    Video Games 
  • Diablo II: Andariel, the first boss in the game, has four spider legs growing from her back, but they're only used for attacking.
  • City of Heroes:
    • The Big Bad Lord Recluse and quite a few of his minions.
    • Villain players get their own set if they use the appropriate archetype.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind: Yagrum Bagarn, the last of the Dwemer race, became infected with the corprus disease. Unable to walk under his own power due to its effect on his body, he constructed a series of mechanized spider legs to carry him.
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed: The Jedi Kazdan Paratus and his mechanical spider legs are a rare heroic example... except he's gone senile and insane, making him all too creepy.
  • Ares from God of War uses this in the climactic duel against Kratos.
  • League of Legends features Urgot, the Dreadnought. He used Chemtech to replace what he considered to be the "weaker" parts of his body, effectively invoking this trope as part of his upgrades. He also gave himself an Arm Cannon as well as leg mounted shotguns.
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: Laughing Octopus is a rare exception to the small-of-the-back rule; her Combat Tentacles come from the top of her head, leaving her body dangling down when she uses them to move around.
  • D'Vorah from Mortal Kombat X has four spider legs that she uses in combat, usually for stabbing people.
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: Alice Twilight, the Rank 2 boss, has these tipped with beam katanas. One of her attacks even ends with her in a position that makes her look very much like a spider.
  • The Fiend Spider Ninjas in Ninja Gaiden II have four large spiked Spider Limbs protruding from their backs, which are used to great effect.
  • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl: Giratina's Origin Forme has 6 spider-like shadow tentacles protruding from its back.
  • Resident Evil:
    • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica: the Nosferatu boss is a mutated human whose arms are chained behind his back, but can still attack by waving around three composite bone-like limbs sprouting from his back and tipped with massive scythe-like blades.
    • Resident Evil 4: Osmund Saddler's One-Winged Angel form is a very grotesque take on this, having four gigantic, chitinous spiked legs emerging from his head, with his now limp and mutated body dangling between them.
    • Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles: the Jabberwocks are arachnid-based humanoid B.O.W. armed with humongous blade-tipped limbs coming out of their backs. The Final Boss gets several for walking and two for attacking, one tipped with a massive club-like set of claws and one ending in a giant organic scythe.
    • Resident Evil 6: among the Javo's random mutations, there's one which turns their whole legs into a set of spider limbs, allowing them to scurry around at greater speed.
    • Resident Evil Village: in a variation, Karl Heisenberg's transformation include long, spider-like mechanical limbs tipped with buzzsaws. Miranda's transformation leaves her with a set of massive, spiked limbs coming from her back which can also turn into wings.
  • Super Paper Mario: Mimi's One-Winged Angel form sees her grow eight spindly spider legs, lifting her still normal-sized body high above the ground as she chases after Mario and his companions.
  • Survival Crisis Z: The first really messed-up boss has spider limbs growing from the stump of its neck (its head having exploded within a minute of its being introduced). The legs hoist it in midair and allow it to rapidly chase you around the room, even as it fountains gallons of blood from its neck. It's that sort of game.
  • Starcraft: Kerrigan, as the Queen of Blades, has four jointed arthropod legs as the most obvious sign of her nature as the new leader of the Zerg.
  • Downplayed with Byakuya in Under Night In-Birth, who has floating blades acting as spider legs for combat. His Infinite Worth EXS plays it straight with actual spider legs coming out of him to consume his opponent's EXS.


    Web Original 
  • The Lazer Collection: Doctor Octogonapus (who is, after all, the resident Doctor Octopus Expy). Also, Randall, after discovering that Doctor Octogonapus is his father.
  • In some of its incarnations, the Slender Man is capable of growing extra, amorphous limbs from his back.
  • Arachne in Void Domain. She can grow extra limbs from her back and even sprout a giant abdomen.
  • Arachne of the Whateley Universe can manifest Spider Limbs along with her normal human limbs. She can also grow more spider-y in other ways when she chooses to, but she routinely is stuck with spider fangs that leak poison when she gets excited.

    Western Animation 
  • Alpha Teens on Machines (a spinoff of Action Man) had the Mad Scientist with spider legs, as a Doctor Octopus homage.
  • Beast Wars: Having the alternate forms of spiders, Tarantulus and Black Arachnia from naturally have these. Theirs come with machineguns.
  • Ben 10: Ultimate Alien: Ulimate Spidermonkey is a gorilla with four spider legs extending from his back.
  • Nidhiki in BIONICLE 2: Legends of Metru Nui has been mutated to have four arachnid legs.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door the character Numbuh 513 from the E.N.G.L.A.N.D. episode, uses said scarf very much like how Doctor Octopus uses his own tentacles.
  • Darkwing Duck:
    • A Monster Clown toy has these, and they end in rather large axes to boot. It was probably the creepiest thing Quackerjack ever made. The kicker? It is made by an Alternate Universe counterpart who was actually a good guy.
    • Darkwing Duck himself, in the episode "Aduckyphobia", receives a radioactive spider bite that granted him two extra pairs of arms, though they seem to have minds of their own (he gets the hang of it when he learns they respond to verbal commands). The Spider-Duck costume is pretty sweet.
  • Irken's PAKs in Invader Zim can extrude these on command. Zim has a strikingly matter-of-fact handling of these (to-him) familiar tools. They are likely purely instinctual. There's one episode when Zim's right next to something blowing up, and when the smoke clears you can see his spider arms in the same position as his actual arms, trying to shield himself from the blast.
  • One of the villains in The Secret Saturdays can transform into a humanoid spider with legs growing out of his back.
  • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series Spider-Man once grew four extra arms. This is based in a story from the comics.
  • In the two-part fourth season finale of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Darth Maul returns after being presumed dead for many years with his lower half replaced by mechanical spider legs. He has these briefly before they are replaced by two human-like legs.
  • Teen Titans (2003):
    • Gizmo often zips around on four mechanical legs. Kinda like Doc Ock, but they only have about three joints each.
    • Fang is a strange example: He uses four giant spider legs to carry himself rapidly across any sort of terrain and to hoist himself out of reach of his enemies. Instead of sprouting from his back, they come from the abdomen of the mutant giant spider that has replaced his head. The humanoid body just sorta hangs there, waving around limply, as it's pulled around by the spider legs. The whole thing is an homage to a scene in FLCL where a monster with spindly legs legs emerges only partly through a girl's head, and drags her body around in a similar fashion.
  • Airachnid in Transformers: Prime has six legs sticking out her back, and she switches from bipedial to... uh, hexapedal at will. She later gains a helicopter as her altmode.