Undergraduate Student Discovers Herbivorous Spider

Posted on October 14, 2009  Comments (2)

Herbivory Discovered in a Spider

A jumping spider from Central America eats mostly plants, according to new research. Spiders were thought to be strictly predators on animals. The spider, Bagheera kiplingi, was described scientifically in the late 1800s, but its vegetarian tendencies were not observed until the 21st century.

“This is the first spider in the world known to deliberately hunt plant parts. It is also the first found to go after plants as a primary food source,” said lead author Christopher Meehan.

Of the approximately 40,000 species of spiders known, Bagheera kiplingi is the only species known to be primarily herbivorous. Ironically, the vegetarian spider is named after the panther in Rudyard Kipling’s “The Jungle Book.” The spider inhabits several species of acacia shrubs involved in a well-known mutualism between the acacias and several species of ants.

Previously, very few spiders had been seen consuming plants at all. Some spiders had been observed occasionally eating nectar and pollen, although the bulk of their diet was insects and other small animals.

Related: Leafhopper Feeding a GeckoBunny and Kittens: Friday Cat Fun #5Symbiotic relationship between ants and bacteria

2 Responses to “Undergraduate Student Discovers Herbivorous Spider”

  1. Oscar
    October 15th, 2009 @ 11:32 am

    Interesting.. But I must admit, I’m not very fond of spiders..It gives me goosebumps..haha!

  2. Anonymous
    October 20th, 2009 @ 8:57 am

    Very interesting , I was not aware that there existed herbivorous spiders, this post got me curious so I will be searching more about these type of spiders

Leave a Reply