A new study indicates that every year 800 million tons of bugs represent the insect diet of spiders, being bound to eat more mosquitoes and worms than people eat meat. Spiders are the free pest control providers. The new research was published on March 14, and it indicated that these arachnids usually consume somewhere between 400 and 800 million metric tons of bugs every year.
- Spiders consume between 400 and 800 million tons of insects per year.
- Researchers stated that they can adapt to any weather conditions and topography.
- They are known to be one of the most widespread predators in the world.
To make a clear cut distinction with our dietary habits, humans consume almost 400 million tons of fish and meat per year. The authors of the new study stated in The Science of Nature that the estimates they determined for spiders seem to equal the prey caught and killed by whales in the oceans of the entire planet, which was estimated to be of 280-500 million tons per year.
The arachnids feed on an outstanding amount of insects, underlining their role of annihilating bugs and pests which carry parasites and diseases. They are endowed with a special survival mechanism. Some species of spiders were found living in the coldest areas on the northern islands of the Arctic and the hottest deserts. These insects were also discovered living at the highest altitudes and even in sand dunes. They can adapt to any type of climate and topography.
They are bound to find food everywhere and to adjust to any conditions. Martin Nyffeler, a researcher at the University of Basel and Klaus Birkhofer, a scientist at Lund University in Sweden and the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg in Germany, stated that there is almost no terrestrial area in the world where spiders would not live.
Scientists estimated that there are probably nearly 25 million metric tons of spiders in the whole world. Researchers have used two different models to calculate the prey consumed by spiders and also the average number of spiders present in a square meter in a particular habitat. Birkhofer and Nyffeler claimed that their calculus indicated that the worldwide annual prey kills demonstrated that spiders impose a massive predation pressure on the populations of bugs, especially when it comes to grasslands and forests.
Spiders, with more than 45,000 species, they represent one of the most pervasive groups of predators. Next time, when you see a web spider in your home, be grateful that the little arachnid keeps you safe from other insects and pests.
Image courtesy of: pixabay