AUG 15, 2017 06:36 AM PDT

These Little Spiders Munch on Vertebrates 1-3x Their Size

It’s common for frogs, lizards, and some other vertebrates to hunt and devour spiders in the wild, but how often do you hear about the exact opposite behavior taking place? Chances are, you don’t hear about it too often, but it happens.

A regal jumping spider from Florida drags a frog up a wall to get eaten.

Image Credit: Jeanine DeNisco

A small team of researchers from both Switzerland and the Florida in the U.S. heard about the intriguing behavior through word of mouth and took it upon themselves to find out more about it.

Related: Science explains why these spiders choose to have threesomes

In the Journal of Arachnology, the researchers, led by Martin Nyffeler from the University of Switzerland, published observations of regal jumping spiders from Florida devouring vertebrates that measured anywhere from one to three times their size.

They based their research off documentation found via internet research, which included Google search queries and other reputable sources. In total, their research led them to eight different accounts where witnesses described regal jumping spiders devouring small vertebrates in the wild.

Despite only growing to about an inch in size, regal jumping spiders also happen to be the largest of any other jumping spiders known to the region, so it’s not too crazy to think that they could be the most predacious of their kind. Still, the idea of a spider eating something so much larger than can be both mind-boggling and unsettling if you don't like spiders.

To tackle their large meal, the regal jumping spiders utilize their excellent eyesight to track and strike their prey at just the right time, injecting it with their venom in the process. After a while, the prey succumbs to the venom, and the spider shells little to no effort feasting on the dead creature without wrestling with it or worrying about it running away.

Despite the size difference, the regal jumping spiders sometimes drag their prey up vertical walls to a more suitable feasting location, which is one reason researchers think the behavior went unnoticed for so long. If they had eaten their prey out in the open instead, researchers could have noticed it sooner.

Related: Is spider silk stronger than steel?

Regal jumping spiders probably don’t rely on just frogs and lizards as their primary food source, but because decent food opportunities only come around so often in the wild, they seize the moment. Perhaps hungrier spiders are more likely to take on larger prey for survival.

Worthy of note, other spider species are known to eat creatures of this caliber frequently; this study focused primarily on the regal jumping spider.

Source: National Geographic

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 23, 2018
Genetics & Genomics
AUG 23, 2018
Growing Plants That Don't Need as Much Water
Parts of our world already have to deal with periods of drought, and it may only get worse....
AUG 26, 2018
Plants & Animals
AUG 26, 2018
These Are the Most Extreme Babies in the Animal Kingdom
Think you had it hard as a baby? Ha! Think again. Human babies have it easy compared to some of the animal kingdom’s most extreme. Barnacle goose hat...
AUG 27, 2018
Plants & Animals
AUG 27, 2018
Can Effective Fisheries Management Prevent Extinction of Marine Fish Stocks?
Animal populations around the globe, marine variants included, are projected to decline as climate change rears its ugly head. But new research suggests th...
SEP 17, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 17, 2018
Luck Enabled Scientists to Monitor a Leatherback Sea Turtle Throughout Hurricane Florence
If you’re a sea turtle, and a hurricane is headed right for your turf, what do you do? Scientists can loosely answer this question thanks to years&rs...
OCT 23, 2018
Earth & The Environment
OCT 23, 2018
Can the Hambach forest be saved?
The Hambach Forest is nestled in the Rhineland of western Germany, not too far from the city of Cologne. At 12,000 years old, it is the oldest old-growth f...
NOV 16, 2018
NOV 16, 2018
An orangutan's anti-palm oil plea
A recently released TV advertisement highlights one company’s attempt to bring into the light the palm oil crisis. Iceland, a UK grocery store, publi...
Loading Comments...