Taxonomists managed to identify over 45,700 species of spiders, and none of them is a herbivore. They populate all continents except Antarctica. While just a few of them have the capacity to hunt down birds and lizards, the rest are skillful insectivorous predators. While people are usually discontent with having such arachnids in their homes, spiders are great at eliminating pests. In fact, a new study shows that the total of these creatures eats more monstrous amounts of prey than the whales do in a year.
The Study Used 65 In-Depth Research Papers
The scientists from the University of Basel and Lund University in Sweden inquired more into the predator condition of spiders. There are around 45,700 species of such arachnids, and their density reached even 1,000 specimens per square meter. These stats designate them as one of the richest species in the world and a widely widespread population of predators.
The lead author of the study, Martin Nyffeler, is a scientist that works at the University of Basel, Switzerland. According to him, their new calculations allowed them to depict spiders as one of the main natural enemies of insects. This is the first time scientists have tracked down the eating capacity of spiders. These arachnids work side by side with birds and ants to save the world from monstrous amounts of pests.
The work of the scientists started off by analyzing data from 65 previous research papers. Based on this extensive study, they found out that the Earth hosts 25 million metric tons of spiders. The next step was to determine how much nutritious material spiders need in order to survive. Finally, the team managed to reach the main conclusion regarding the number of invertebrates the eight-legged creatures consume during an entire year.
Spiders Can Eat Monstrous Amounts of Prey Beating Humans and Whales
Thus, scientists discovered that spiders are responsible for monstrous amounts of prey each year. They estimate that the entire community of spiders eats between 400 and 800 million metric tons. This finding highlights the important role spiders have in nature’s equilibrium. They can relieve the planet of a considerable volume of pests and insects that carry diseases.
By comparison, humans eat up to 400 million tons of fish and meat each year. Not even whales can keep up with the eating habits of spiders. The aquatic mammals are responsible for only 500 million tons at most of prey.
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