Reasons to love spiders #2: Those which don’t build webs are still brilliantly creative hunters

Although spider-webs are practically synonymous with the word ‘spider’, here’s something that might surprise you - only about half the world’s spider species spin webs to catch their prey! The world of spiders is very, very diverse (they rank seventh in total species diversity among all the living organisms out there) and many of them have evolved to catch prey by different, but equally impressive means.

The trapdoor spider is a fascinating example of this. Belonging to the Ctenizidae family of arachnids, this little mygalomorph constructs a burrow in the ground, and covers it with a hinged trapdoor made of leaves, soil, and silk. The trapdoor swings outwards, and is very difficult to spot on the ground when shut. Once the spider starts feeling peckish, it hides inside the burrow while holding the trapdoor closed, waiting for an unsuspecting insect to crawl by and disturb one of the trip lines connected to the door. When this happens, the spider is quickly alerted that a tasty morsel is within reach, and bam! - it instantly leaps out and captures its prey, a mere fraction of a second from when the insect came into contact with the trip line.

No time for webs OR silken trapdoor snares? Meet the vast and ridiculously adorable family of jumping spiders (Salticidae). Armed with amazing visual acuity (they have four pairs of eyes, but they’re still cute, I promise!) and the ability to jump upto 50 times their own length, jumping spiders make for formidable hunters and prefer to stalk their prey on foot and ambush it, rather than building traps. This is how they do it: once potential prey has been sighted, a jumping spider will stalk the meal-to-be for a while in order to determine whether it’s worth the effort or not (these spiders are often tiny in size compared to their prey, so there’s always a risk involved!). If yes, the spider will first release a dragline for security, and proceed to pounce on its prey with deadly accuracy, immobilising it on the spot with a quick shot of venom in order to prevent it from escaping or putting up a struggle. However, should the little spider fail in making the jump, or if the prey manages to shake if off, it will climb right back up the security line, and either make another attempt, or wander off in search of other prey. Clever things!

Of course, these are only two of many, many fascinating examples, with more to be covered in the future! Here is part one of the installment.

  1. that-creepy-kid reblogged this from koryos
  2. lampshaming reblogged this from koryos
  3. yincira reblogged this from fuckyeaharachnophobia
  4. hellotoxoplasma reblogged this from parasitise
  5. parasitise reblogged this from fuckyeaharachnophobia
  6. karnilla74 reblogged this from fuckyeaharachnophobia
  7. paskud reblogged this from fuckyeaharachnophobia
  8. crucifigo reblogged this from fuckyeaharachnophobia
  9. fotdk reblogged this from fuckyeaharachnophobia
  10. decadensea reblogged this from fuckyeaharachnophobia
  11. fuckyeaharachnophobia reblogged this from koryos
  12. burnslikeabluedream reblogged this from koryos
  13. holdingontoclarity reblogged this from snapbutterfly
  14. phipsy reblogged this from wuzzymolecules
  15. reallymadscientist reblogged this from wuzzymolecules
  16. wuzzymolecules reblogged this from snapbutterfly
  17. askdjfhlaskjhfdlkhfa reblogged this from that-creepy-kid
  18. gigantichounds reblogged this from koryos
  19. crazylikeapopsicle reblogged this from snapbutterfly
  20. titleknown reblogged this from koryos
  21. lonelymountainson reblogged this from koryos