How Often Spiders Eat

How often spiders eat depends on many factors. The number of prey they consume, the size of the individual, and their gender all play a role in how often they eat.

Spiders consume between 400 and 800 million tons of insects every year. They are opportunistic feeders, and prefer to catch smaller animals. This means that they can survive weeks without food. However, they may not need to eat for a few days after a large meal.

Spiders have a relatively small mouth, with the mouth opening surrounded by chelicerae. These chelicerae act like a sieve, catching solid particles in the food and pushing them back.

Spiders are also known for their uncanny survival skills. If they become hungry, they will eat as much as they can in a short amount of time. Sometimes they will cannibalize other species. During food shortages, they will also eat their siblings or even their newborn kin.

In order to calculate how often spiders eat, scientists used two different methods. One was based on numbers of insects captured in the field. For this, researchers counted the number of spiders found in the field, and then extrapolated this information using the average spider biomass per square meter in the various biomes.

A second method was to use prey capture observations in the field. After calculating the numbers of prey a spider captures, they then calculated the average amount of prey a spider catches per year. Using this data, researchers estimated how many spiders a given area would have in a year.