How Much Do Spiders Eat?

In a recent study, researchers estimated how much food spiders eat in a year. Spiders eat insects and other bugs, which are the primary food sources.

Scientists looked at how much food different species of spiders need. They also measured how many spiders live in different ecosystems. The researchers extrapolated their data to estimate how much spiders eat worldwide.

Spiders eat hundreds of millions of tons of insects every year. They kill up to 95 percent of the prey in the ecosystems they live in. These prey include mosquitoes, moths, and other insect pests. Many species of spiders eat non-insect bugs, too, such as frogs and bats.

Researchers calculated how much food spiders eat by using a variety of estimation methods. First, they figured out how many spiders live in a square meter of land. This number is based on the average spider biomass in various biomes. After calculating the total mass of spiders, they were able to use two simple models to calculate the amount of food that spiders could eat.

Another approach was to look at the average amount of food consumed by spiders of different sizes. After determining how much food each type of spider needed, researchers estimated how much food they could eat in a year.

Spiders eat more meat and fish in a year than humans do. Humans consume 400 million tons of meat and fish each year. Whales, on the other hand, eat 280 to 500 million tons of seafood.