Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

More Than Bugs: Spiders Also Like to Eat Vegetarian

14.03.2016

Spiders are known to be the classic example of insectivorous predators. Zoologists from the University of Basel, the US and UK have now been able to show that their diet is more diverse than expected. Their findings show that spiders like to spice up their menu with the occasional vegetarian meal. The Journal of Arachnology has published the results.

Although traditionally viewed as a predator of insects, researchers have become increasingly aware that spiders are not exclusively insectivorous. Some spiders have been shown to enrich their diets by occasionally feasting on fish, frogs or even bats. A new study by Zoologists from the University of Basel, Brandeis University (US) and Cardiff University (UK) now shows evidence of spiders eating plant food as well.


Adult female jumping spider Maevia inclemens drinking nectar at the extrafloral nectaries of a Prunus shrub. It presses its mouthparts into the nectary opening imbibing nectar.

David E. Hill, Peckham Society, Simpsonville, South Carolina

Plants as diet supplement

The researchers gathered and documented numerous examples from literature of spiders eating plant food. According to their systematic review, spiders from ten families have been reported feeding on a wide variety of different plant types such as trees, shrubs, weeds, grasses, ferns or orchids. They also show a diverse taste when it comes to the type of plant food: nectar, plant sap, honeydew, leaf tissue, pollen and seeds are all on the menu.

The most prominent group of spiders engaged in plant-eating are Salticidae – a diurnal spider family with characteristically large anterior median eyes. Salticidae were attributed with up to 60 percent of all plant-eating incidents documented in this study. As plant-dwelling, highly mobile foragers with excellent capability to detect suitable plant food, these spiders seems to be predestined to include some plant food in their diets.

Global feeding behavior

Spiders feeding on plants is global in its extent, as such behavior has been reported from all continents except Antarctica. However, it is documented more frequently from warmer areas. The researchers suggest that this might be due to the fact that a larger number of the reports relate to nectar consumption which has its core distribution in warmer areas where plants secreting large amounts of nectar are widespread.

“The ability of spiders to derive nutrients from plants is broadening the food base of these animals; this might be a survival mechanism helping spiders to stay alive during periods when insects are scarce”, says lead author Martin Nyffeler from the University of Basel in Switzerland. “In addition, diversifying their diet with plant is advantageous from a nutritional point of view, since diet mixing is optimizing nutrient intake.” However, the extent to which the different categories of plant food contribute to the spiders’ diet is still largely unexplored.

Original source
Martin Nyffeler, Eric J. Olson, William O.C. Symondson
Plant-eating by spiders
Journal of Arachnology (2016) 44: 15-27 | doi: 10.1636/P15-45.1

Further information
PD Dr. Martin Nyffeler, University of Basel, Department of Environmental Sciences, Tel. +41 61 702 07 03, email: martin.nyffeler@unibas.ch

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.unibas.ch/en/News-Events/News/Uni-Research/More-Than-Bugs--Spiders-A...

Reto Caluori | Universität Basel

Further reports about: Environmental Sciences insects nectar nutrient intake spiders

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Topologische Quantenchemie
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

nachricht Topological Quantum Chemistry
21.07.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Chemische Physik fester Stoffe

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>