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Spiders eat 800 million tons of prey a year

Posted on Wednesday, 15 March, 2017 | Comment icon 15 comments

Spiders are adept at keeping the world's insect population in check. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Opoterser
New research has revealed that spiders eat twice as much animal prey as humans do each year.
According to a study by Swiss and Swedish zoologists, the much maligned arachnids, which collectively weigh around 25 million tons, get through up to 800 million tons of insects a year.

Humans, by contrast, eat only 400 million tons of meat and fish in a twelve-month period.

The findings demonstrate that spiders are one of the world's most voracious predators with their annual intake even exceeding that of whales which eat up to 500 million tons of prey a year.

"Our calculations let us quantify for the first time on a global scale that spiders are major natural enemies of insects," said lead researcher Dr Martin Nyffeler.

"In concert with other insectivorous animals such as ants and birds, they help to reduce the population densities of insects significantly."

"Spiders thus make an essential contribution to maintaining the ecological balance of nature."

Source: Telegraph | Comments (15)

Tags: Spiders

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by Herr Falukorv on 15 March, 2017, 20:09
what has that to do with how much spiders eat?
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin on 16 March, 2017, 0:56
Good article, great read.
Comment icon #8 Posted by khol on 16 March, 2017, 3:06
global population weight of spiders 25million tons.. They are amazing animals. The idea of an animal setting a trap for another by constructing a complexweb and lurking in the shadows... waiting to cool is that! The engineering involved in some of thesewebs is remarkable as well..the abilityalone to do this is an evolutionary marvell Jumping spiders are quite common and I havephotographed them at home for fun.....many different varieties
Comment icon #9 Posted by mysticwerewolf on 16 March, 2017, 4:05
as long as they stay away from me
Comment icon #10 Posted by Merc14 on 16 March, 2017, 12:43
Did you take that photo khol?
Comment icon #11 Posted by khol on 16 March, 2017, 13:06
No I can't take credit for that.. whats great about digital photography nowadays is anyone with a decent camera can snap shots like this..then instantly zoom in on computer and have a real good look at the animal. Later you can crop and do what you need. Not like the ol'days with the 35mm's . I use to have rolls and rolls of film laying around waiting to get sent off and is a much more user friendly hobby these days and for shots like this you don't even have to leave the yard!
Comment icon #12 Posted by paperdyer on 16 March, 2017, 18:50
Yes it is Merc. Howeverthey aren't hungry enough as there are still too many insects to bug us.
Comment icon #13 Posted by insanityitrust on 17 March, 2017, 4:39
Considering the chemical warfare on insects in orchards, vineyards and grain farms...etc.. amazing there is still a good supply for spiders Ever watch a 'live' mating dance of spiders? Films show this.. seeing it live is unique... the little male runs in and out of they before being consumed.. Having a 4 inch Tarantula walk around ones' body is Very Interesting..
Comment icon #14 Posted by newbloodmoon on 19 March, 2017, 14:19
Cool story, cooler looking spider.
Comment icon #15 Posted by ChaosRose on 19 March, 2017, 14:37
Except for those jumping spiders, which actually manage to be cute, I have to hold myself back from saying kill it with fire. That said, I understand how important they are. As terrifying as I find them, I don't kill any. I make sure they get a safe trip outside.

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