What are some ways in which spiders and their in relatives catch prey?

1 Answer
Feb 2, 2016

Spiders have a wide variety of foraging behaviour.


Spiders use theire fangs to hold their prey and inject the venom that will both kill and digest them. the catching part of the foraging vary a lot between the spiders, at first we shall divide foraging behaviour in two groupe, web-weaver and not web-weaver.

The first one, the web-weavers regroup several families:

  • Araneidae (orb weaver)
  • Tetragnathidae (long jawed spider)
  • Nephilidae (golden orb weaver)
  • Theridiosomatidae ( ray spider)
  • Uloboridae ( cribellate orb weaver)
  • Lyniiphidae (sheetweb spider)
  • Theridiidae (cobweb spider)
  • Pholcidae (cellar spider)
  • Agelenidae ( funnel spider)

see at the bottom for pictures

The first five build orbicular web( with some exception), witch is the commonn spider web we all have in mind:

This is the classical orb web ( which have variation between and among the families). It work as a fishing net that catch flying insects mostly. covered of glue ( exepte for the Uloboridae which use cribellate silk wich is more like velcro) the insects get stuked into it and the vibration that result warn the spider that a new meal has arrived.

the sheet webs of the Lyniiphidae and the cobweb of the Theridiidae are very particular: horizontal, with a network of silk above it ( to anchor the web and catch passing flying insect that will fall on the sheet)

the cellar spider has a complex web that we are used to see in our house hold :

the Aganeleidae or funnel spider make a sheet web with a funnel forme, the spider hiding in the bottom of the funnel will wait for an insect to walk by the sheet and will come for it

Some other spiders have inovate with partial orb web like the Ogre spider (Deinopis sp.) :https://www.flickr.com/photos/abelpg/2792557531
and it goes on, wonders after wonders for web weavers!

Then we will see some not web-weaver or active hunters:

  • Lycosidae ( wolf spider)
  • Pisauridae ( rafting spider)
  • Thomisidae ( crab spider)
  • Salticidae ( jumping spider)
    there are many other, but there are over 110 families ...

The Lycosidae and the Pisauridae are active hunter that wander around and catch pray, the Pisauridae are often associated with water and some ocasionaly feed off little fish:
Video showing the wolf spider

The crab spider tend to ambush theire prey on vegetation like the Goldenrod crab spider Misumena vatia which can change color depending on the flower it is waiting on :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misumena_vatia

There are also the amazing Salticidae or Jumping spider which used their great eyesight and jumping capacity to hunt and catch theire prey :
Video showing the jumping spider

There are of cours the tarentula that wait and catch prey with their powefull fang :http://animals.mom.me/goliath-tarantula-care-sheet-4939.html

If you want to know more about spiders I can advise you to get a look at the Biology of spiders 3rd edition by Rainer F. Foelix :
click here for a preview of the book