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Spiders' Insect Diet in a Year More 'Meat' Than Humans Eat

Image: Spiders' Insect Diet in a Year More 'Meat' Than Humans Eat
Spiders eat millions of tons of insects in a year, more than humans eat meat and fish. (Photowitch/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 16 Mar 2017 05:50 AM

A new study shows spiders eat 440 to 880 million tons of insects and other pests each year — likely more than the estimated 440 million tons of meat and fish consumed per year by humans worldwide.

The study published in The Science of Nature found an estimated 27 million tons of spiders worldwide consumed 16 to 32 times their weight each year in pesky insects, making them a major natural enemy to insect populations, according to LiveScience.

Spiders are beneficial in keeping insect populations down and also protect plants and trees that could be food for invasive insects, study lead author Martin Nyffeler of the University of Basel in Switzerland said.

“Our calculations let us quantify for the first time on a global scale that spiders are major natural enemies of insects. In concert with other insectivorous animals such as ants and birds, they help to reduce the population densities of insects significantly. Spiders make an essential contribution to maintaining the ecological balance of nature,” Nyffeler said, USA Today reported.

Besides insects, larger species of spiders can also eat frogs, lizards, snakes, fish, birds, and bats.

Spiders also are prey for many other animals and insects. Between 8,000 to 10,000 predators eat only spiders, and another 3,000 to 5,000 bird species eat them frequently, USA Today reported.

The total amount of food eaten by the world’s spiders is about the same as the total amount eaten by the world’s whale population, the study found, LiveScience reported.

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A new study shows spiders eat 440 to 880 million tons of insects and other pests each year - likely more than the estimated 440 million tons of meat and fish consumed per year by humans worldwide.
spiders, insects, humans, meat
248
2017-50-16
Thursday, 16 Mar 2017 05:50 AM
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