The greatest enemy of spiders, aside from frightened human beings, might be other spiders. Even some web-weaving spiders, such as cellar spiders in the family Pholcidae, can leave their own webs to stalk other spiders in their webs. Thread-legged assassin bugs in the family Reduviidae patiently approach spiders in their webs and then nab them lightning-fast with their vise-like front legs. Giant tropical “helicopter” damselflies hover in front of spider webs and pluck the spider off. Mud dauber wasps tug on spider webs to mimic an entangled insect, then grab the spider and sting it into paralysis. The immobile spider is then stored in a nest as food for the wasp’s offspring. Huge, colorful “tarantula hawk” wasps tackle the largest of spiders. Other wasps called ichneumons will lay a single egg on a spider and the wasp larva that hatches then slowly eats the spider alive. Still other insects are parasites or predators of spiders in all life stages. Mantidflies in the family Mantispidae develop as larvae inside a spider egg sac, eating all the spider’s eggs. Even human beings eat spiders intentionally. Some native peoples in South America hunt giant tarantulas and fry them. The spiders are considered a crunchy delicacy. Other mammals, like shrews, coatimundi, meerkats, and grasshopper mice also eat spiders regularly. So do reptiles, especially lizards. Birds not only eat spiders, but will use spider silk in making their nests.
General Spider Questions
- What is a spider?
- How do I identify a spider?
- What is the world’s largest spider?
- How many eyes do spiders have?
- How long do spiders live?
- How are spiders helpful to people and the planet?
- What kind of animals eat spiders?
- How do spiders produce silk?
- Why do spiders spin webs?
- How do spiders create webs?
- How long does it take a spider to build a web?
- How strong is a spider web?
- Why is spider silk sticky?
- What else do spiders use silk for?
- What is the most venomous spider in the world?
- How do I treat a spider bite?
- What do spider bites look like?