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Plant-Eating Spiders

March 17th, 2016

Plant-Eating Spiders

Spiders are known for their clever hunting strategies. They are kind of like the lions of the insect world. They sit pretty firmly on the top of the insect food chain. We don’t usually think of spiders as big fans of veggies. However, a new study reveals that there are spiders out there that like to munch on plants once in a while or sip some sweet nectar after a hard day of work. None of these spiders are total vegetarians, but some of them do come pretty close.

In his most recent study, Martin Nyffeler from the University of Basel in Switzerland found that many species of jumping spiders enjoy the occasional meal of leafy greens and nectar. A number of spiders have been witnessed eating nectar, and researchers have found that 20 to 30 percent spiders have fructose in their stomachs, an ingredient in nectar. However, this meal isn’t easy to get. Ants also eat nectar, so those nectar-loving spiders out there have to go on a nectar run when the ants busy elsewhere unless they want to battle an angry mob of nectar-addicted ants.

The researchers also found that a number of species eat actual plant matter as well. They generally bite into leaves and suck out the sap like other plant-eating insects. When these spiders do choose to eat the actual leaf of a plant they have to first inject a small piece with digestive fluids in order to liquefy it, just as they do when they eat insects.

Did you know that some spiders eat plants? Why do you think these spiders eat leafy greens? How would it benefit them?

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