Date
18 December 2017
Some spider species can catch and eat fish twice their size and weight. Photo: BBC News
Some spider species can catch and eat fish twice their size and weight. Photo: BBC News

Itsy bitsy spider came down to catch a fish

Call it one of the wonders of nature, an interesting aspect of evolution, of a species’ struggle to survive, or simply an evidence of how little we know about the world we live in.

We’re talking about spiders: those eeky eight-legged anthropods that you sometimes swat with a slipper when you spot them crawling on the wall.

They are known to prey on insects and sometimes fellow spiders, but scientists have discovered that certain families of spiders catch and eat fish, BBC News reported. Not just tiny fish, but those that are twice their size and weight.

A new study by a Swiss-Australian team says eating fish is common among spider species that live near rivers, ponds and swamps. It’s been seen in all continents except Antartica.

According to Martin Nyffeler from the University of Basel in Switzerland and Bradley Pusey from the University of Western Australia, the spiders use powerful neurotoxins and enzymes to kill and digest fish that are bigger and heavier than them.

Some of them are capable of swimming, diving and walking on the water surface, the report said.

But normally, the spider stands on a stone or a plant with its hind legs while its front legs rest on the water surface to await its prey. It then injects a passing fish with its strong poisons and drags it to a dry place where its starts the feeding process which could last several hours.

Details of the study appear in the scientific journal Plos One.

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SK/CG

The spider uses powerful neurotoxins and enzymes to kill and digest its prey. Photo: BBC News


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