AUG 15, 2017 6:36 AM PDT

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

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

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
MAY 17, 2022
Plants & Animals
Broad International Cooperation Needed to Save Coral Reefs
MAY 17, 2022
Broad International Cooperation Needed to Save Coral Reefs
Coral reefs have long been a central focus of the impacts of climate change. We hear stories every other day, it seems, ...
JUL 01, 2022
Genetics & Genomics
Great Odin's Ravens! The Missing Link Between Single-Cell Organisms & Human Cells Named For the Old Norse Deity
JUL 01, 2022
Great Odin's Ravens! The Missing Link Between Single-Cell Organisms & Human Cells Named For the Old Norse Deity
Since the dawn of human history, we have always wondered how we got here. What processes took place that brought us from ...
JUL 08, 2022
Plants & Animals
Oilseed Plant Camelina Has Potential as an Aviation Biofuel
JUL 08, 2022
Oilseed Plant Camelina Has Potential as an Aviation Biofuel
Camelina, an oilseed currently grown in what is now Ukraine, is a grain product that has been cultivated for thousands o ...
JUL 26, 2022
Plants & Animals
Cocoa Could Help Reduce Blood Pressure and Arterial Stiffness
JUL 26, 2022
Cocoa Could Help Reduce Blood Pressure and Arterial Stiffness
A new study found that cocoa can reduce blood pressure and stiff arteries, but only when both are elevated. The cocoa pl ...
AUG 10, 2022
Health & Medicine
Newly ID'ed Langya Virus Sickens Dozens in China
AUG 10, 2022
Newly ID'ed Langya Virus Sickens Dozens in China
Zoonotic diseases, which can jump from one species to another, are not unusual. As the world's population rises and the ...
AUG 11, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
How To Eliminate the Smell of Cannabis
AUG 11, 2022
How To Eliminate the Smell of Cannabis
Want to know how to get rid of the lingering odor of cannabis? Here's some tips.
Loading Comments...