Jul 23, 2019 | Updated: 09:13 AM EDT

Spiders Eat Up To 800 Million Tons Of Food Every Year

Mar 15, 2017 06:45 PM EDT

(Photo : Wikimedia Commons / Jon Sullivan) Spider in its web

A recent study has shown that for their food consumption, spiders kill a staggering number of insects every year. Research says that the amount of food taken in by spiders sums up to 800 million tons.

 According to Phys.org, spiders have above 45,000 species and a population density of almost 1000 individuals per square meter. They are considered to be the world's most widespread group of predators. Most of the spiders remain hidden in the wildlife while a number of them are nocturnal in nature. The researchers use modern calculative techniques to sort out spiders as one of the natural enemies of insects, causing a huge impact on the ecological balance.

Two calculation methods are used in the research based on various models. It shows that the spiders all over the world eat up an estimated 400-800 million tons of prey annually. Apart from insects and springtails, the food menu of spiders also consists of small vertebrates like frogs, lizards, fish, birds, bats and even snakes. These are mainly eaten by larger tropical spiders. Researchers are of the opinion that the eating habit of the spiders can be compared to that of the whales which consume an estimated 280-500 million tons of food every year.

According to Gizmodo, spiders' annual amount of consumption is also pretty close to that of the meat and fish mass gobbled up by humans per year. The research says that the annual human carnivorous consumption of something just over 400 million tons resembles the consumption of the spiders every year.

The research also says that this carnivorous habit of the spiders is far from causing any kind of impact on the pests in agricultural farmlands. Spiders tend to keep to forests and undisturbed grasslands and prey on the insects over there, rather than dwelling into agricultural areas. As per the study, the agricultural areas don't have a good enough assortment of prey for the liking of the spiders, so they tend to keep off the farmlands.

The research helps to quantify the spiders as one of the biggest enemies of insects and pests in the unperturbed grasslands and forests rather than agricultural lands, thus making an important contribution to the ecological balance of nature. The results of the study are published in the journal "The Science of Nature".

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