Tag Archives: arachnids

Spiders – Very Hungry Hunters!

Spiders are a very successful group of arthropods that are found everywhere from deserts to grasslands to forests to Arctic tundra.  There are more than 45,000 species identified worldwide and that number is growing with new discoveries. It has been estimated that there are around 130 spiders occupying every 10 square feet of land on the earth and the combined weight of all spiders is around 30 million tons.

Collectively, spiders kill between 400 million to 800 million tons of prey annually. Their prespider-eating-insects-3479732_1280y consists of insects and springtails (small insect like arthropods), with larger spider species consuming birds, fish, frogs, lizards, and small mammals.

Compare this to what humans consume, which is estimated at 400 million tons of meat and fish yearly.

According to researchers, spiders are not only important predators, but also find themselves on the menu of thousands of other animals. frogs-eating-spider-4951306_1280Between 8,000 and 10,000 other predators,wasp-eating-spider parasitoids and parasites feed only on spiders, while spiders at the same time make up an important part of the diet of an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 bird species.

While it’s a bit creepy to think about so many spiders eating so many creatures, year-in and year-out, it’s important to realize that this is just part of the world’s natural food chain .

The only other group of arthropods that can compete with spiders, pound-for-pound, are ants, but spider-tarantula-eating-4362987_1280ants are not overwhelmingly carnivorous like spiders.

Even though spiders may be out there eating their weight in gold, or insects. They are still not welcome in our homes and businesses.  In fact, they’re persona non grata, just about everywhere people live, play or congregate.  This may have something to do with their creepy, eyes, eight to be exact, and their ability to crawl, run and jump on eight multi-jointed legs. Oh, and they’re hairy, they bite and inject venom, and they build spider-in-web-with-food-4631652_1280sticky webs.

Keeping spiders out of our living spaces is a never-ending battle for most of us.  So, when we get tired of swatting at, stomping on, or hunting for spiders, calling a professional pest control company is next on the agenda.

woman-in-spider-web-corky-cartoon-2Spider control is best left to the experts.  They know where they live, they know why they’re there, and they know how to get rid of them.  Corky’s Pest Control has been successfully controlling spiders on customers properties for over 50 years in Southern California.  Their Ultimate Pest Control Service is a uniquely developed system that combines, physically removing webs, using state approved materials for the elimination of spiders and consistently applying these measures in a timely manner. Most important, is a consistenraining-spiderst, and sustainable, treatment plan, for without one, spiders are sure to re-infest, since they crawl and float in (known as ballooning), from neighboring properties.

 

Fun Fact: spider-clipart-arachnid-155533_640

Spiders consume approximately 10 percent of their body weight in food per day. That’s equivalent to a 200-pound man eating 20 pounds of meat each day or, 2000 pounds of spiders consuming a 200-pound man, in 1 day.

Very Hungry Hunters, Indeed!

“It’s not The Planet of the Apes—it’s The Planet of the Arthropods.”

 

Who are the most successful beings on Earth? It certainly isn’t Man, Ape or any other mammal. The most successful animals on the planet are the arthropods. They have conquered land, sea and air, and make up over three-fourths of all currently known living and fossil organisms. They are the true masters of the Earth!

Various Arthropods Wikipedia Commons
Various Arthropods Wikipedia Commons

The Phylum Arthropoda got its name from the Greek, arthros (jointed) and poda (foot) and encompasses over 800,000 species, including arachnids (spiders), crustaceans (sea creatures) and insects.  Also, members of this gigantic phylum are Myriapods; centipedes, millipedes, sea spiders, and maybe a host of other organisms yet unidentified.

What do all of these creepy, crawly and flighty creatures have in common?  They are all invertebrate (without a backbone), have symmetrical, segmented bodies, jointed legs, exterior skeletons, a ventral (front) nervous system, highly developed sensory organs and they are cold blooded.

Arthropods have a leg up on all other organsms. They do everything with legs or modified legs. They swim, crawl, jump, and fly, they use legs to sense with (their antennae), to bite and sting with and to chew with (they even chew sideways).  All this and more, is done with legs.

So, with segmented bodies that accommodate environmental changes, with legs that let them walk; with hard, waterproof shells that keep water in or out; and with highly adaptable respiratory systems, arthropods have dominated the animal world.

Arthropods occur in virtually every earthly habitat, from the cold ocean depths to the hottest deserts. They can live through extremes that would kill most vertebrates.

Fun Facts about Arthropods:

  • Arthropods crawled onto land about 100 million years before vertebrates did. It’s thought that colonizing land was easier for them for several reasons – including the fact that they had already evolved legs, which they used for walking on the bottom of the sea.
  • About 80% of all animal species are arthropods!butterfly-emerging-from-cocoon-1518060_640
  • All arthropods undergo metamorphosis – a process where their bodies change radically as they pass from their larval to adult stages. Butterflies are the best-known for entering cocoons as caterpillars and coming out quite different, but all arthropods do something similar!
  • When arthropods outgrow their old exoskeleton, they molt – leaving behind their former skin and growing a new one. All arthropods do this at least once in their lives.
  • Crustaceans and arachnids – two types of arthropods – have blue blood instead of red blood! Their blood uses a blue copper compound to carry oxygen, instead of the red iron compound used by most other animals.
  • An Arthropods’ hard exoskeleton is made of chitin – which is made of a sugar glucose compound! It’s not sweet but it sure is hard!

If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos. (E. O. Wilson, The Diversity of Life)