What Do Spiders Eat?

What do spiders eat?
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What Do Spiders Eat? Spiders are arthropods, classified in class Arachnida. These eight-legged creatures form the most significant portion of the Arachnid family.

Spiders are predatory arthropods, meaning they draw their nutrients from eating meat. They eat other spiders, small animals, and insects such as beetles, cicadas, crickets, and grasshoppers.

Table of Contents

What Do Spiders Eat?

Type of Spider Binomial Name Diet
Australian Tarantulas Selenocosmia crassipes Large insects, frogs, small reptiles, and small birds.
Red-headed Mouse Spider Missulena occatoria Other spiders, insect species, lizards, and frogs.
Long Jawed Spider Tetragnatha spp. Moths, flies, and insects.
Yellow Sac Spider Cheiracanthium inclusum Arthropods, other spiders, and their own eggs.

Spiders Diet by Types

About 40,000 types of spiders exist in the world today. These arthropods are found in practically almost every continent except Antarctica. Spiders are classified into two suborders Mesothelae, which contains segmented spiders and Opisthothelae, which contains the rest of the spiders.

These suborders are further categorized as infraorders Mygalomorphae (constitutes “ancient spiders“), and Araneomorphae (contains “modern spiders“). This section will look at examples of spiders drawn from families categorized in the above infraorders.

The habitats of these spiders will also be studied in this section.

What Do Australian Tarantulas Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Araneae Theraphosidae Selenocosmia Selenocosmia crassipes

Australian Tarantulas is carnivorous whose diet includes large insects, frogs, small reptiles, and at times, small birds.

  • These spiders are classified under the family Theraphosidae.
  • These tarantulas are considered to be old-world spiders.
  • They are notable for their large hairy bodies whose color varies from dark brown to pale red-brown.
  • The Australian tarantulas inhabit burrows lined with their webs, underground.

What Do Red-headed Mouse Spiders Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Araneae Actinopodidae Missulena Missulena occatoria

The Red-headed mouse spider preys on other spiders, a vast range of insect species, and occasionally on lizards, and frogs.

  • The red-headed mouse spider is notable for its redhead, as suggested by its name.
  • This “ancient species” is classified under the family Actinopidae.
  • This spider species inhabit underground burrows, especially those found next to water bodies.
  • They can also be spotted in suburban gardens, open forests, and shrublands.

What Do Long Jawed Spiders Eat?

Long-jawed spiders eat moths, flies, and other kinds of insects. They tend to build their webs strategically, next to their food source.

  • This spider is also referred to as the long-jawed orb weaver.
  • This species is classified in the family Tetragnathidae, which contains over 1000 spider species.
  • It is notable because of its large chelicerae.
  • In some species, the chelicerae tend to be longer compared to the spider’s cephalothorax.
  • This species also spots very long front legs. The members of this species inhabit areas next to water bodies.
  • They will be found building their webs over small streams or ponds.

What Do Yellow Sac Spiders Eat?

Kingdom Order Family Genus Species
Animalia Araneae Miturgidae Cheiracanthium Cheiracanthium inclusum

Yellow sac spiders dine on a vast range of arthropods, other spiders, and their own eggs.

  • The yellow sac spider is also referred to as the black-footed spider, and their stings are considered to be medically dangerous.
  • This species is classified under the family Clubionidae, and it is one of the modern spider species.
  • As suggested by its name, this species color ranges from light yellow to pale yellow-green.
  • Yellow sac spiders can be found crawling on house walls or other vertical surfaces where they construct sacs that they live in.
Suggested Reading: Speaking of medically dangerous, check out the most poisonous caterpillars of the world.

How Do Spiders Hunt?

For spiders, hunting requires mastery of specific skills.

  • One strategy spiders use the sit-and-wait approach. In this technique, spiders pretty much position themselves waiting for potential prey to come closer to them.
  • Once they spot prey, they launch an attack. Most spiders inject venom into their prey using their powerful sting to stimulate paralysis.
  • They can also wrap their muscular bodies around their prey to overpower it.

When Do Spiders Eat?

Most spiders are nocturnal, and they will be found foraging for food and eating during nightfall. During the day, they hide in cracks, crevices, or their webs.

How Often Do Spiders Eat?

Spiders do not eat as often.

  • They can go for weeks without food. However, during plenty, they will tend to feed as frequently as they can.
  • As tiny as they are, spiders consume about 400-800 million tons of insect prey and other invertebrates per year.

What Eats Spiders?

Spiders are considered to be a perfect delicacy to monkeys, sparrows, birds, Salamanders, wasps, young frogs, toads, small reptiles such as snakes, and other spiders.

Where Do Spiders Fit in the Animal Food Chain?

Spiders play a significant role in the animal food chain.

  • They feed on a vast range of organisms, mainly insects, thus regulating their local population.
  • This eating pattern helps maintain a balance in their ecosystems.
  • In their role as prey, they provide a good source of nutrition to organisms allowing them to survive.

Cite this article as: "What Do Spiders Eat?," in Bio Explorer, January 24, 2020, https://www.bioexplorer.net/what-do-spiders-eat.html/.

Key References

  • “Australian Tarantula | Perth Zoo”. Accessed December 08, 2019. Link.
  • “Missulena occatoria | Atlas of Living Australia”. Accessed December 08, 2019. Link.
  • “Long-Jawed Orb Weavers & Orchard Spiders of Kentucky – University of Kentucky Entomology”. Accessed December 08, 2019. Link.
  • “Long-jawed spiders”. Accessed December 08, 2019. Link.
  • “Yellow Sac Spiders – Facts, Venom & Habitat Information”. Accessed December 08, 2019. Link.
  • “Spiders eat astronomical numbers of insects: Spiders feed on an estimated 400 to 800 million tons of insects and other pests annually; in comparison, all humans consume about 400 million tons in meat and fish — ScienceDaily”. Accessed December 08, 2019. Link.

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