Friday, 28 May 2010

Do Spiders eat ants?

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Ants are pretty hardy creatures, and a lot of them are quite acidic too. For instance the weaver ant pictured here has lots of formic acid which it can spray upon predators, so I would imagine that they are not a first choice meal.

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However, if you`ve been keeping track of this blog, you may have seen the different spiders that mimic ants. However, mimicry can be defensive (to avoid predation by other creatures) or aggressive (to avoid detection by prey) and some of the mimics leave us wondering if the ant imitation is for predation of ants or for camouflage.

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Now, to answer the question in the title – Do spiders eat ants? From these photos it is quite clear that spiders do prey on ants, even without the need for mimicry.

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Technically they don't eat ants, they paralyse/kill it with their venom and suck out what is inside the ants exoskeleton, before they dump the body!

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9 comments:

  1. Nice post, iv never come across a spider eating an ant before.

    Regards,
    Angad

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  2. I thought that's what they do for all their prey right... "paralyse/kill it and suck out what is inside the ants before they dump the exoskeleton"!
    Please correct me if am wrong.

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  3. Yes thats what they do for all prey, including ants.

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  4. exelent article, even in my years of viewing animal planet i have seen images like this...spiders are incredibles creatures,thanks

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  5. Ah, thank you for answering that question. I have a growing ant colony in my (tiny) back garden, and have a feeling ants are going to start venturing inside. I don't want to poison them (i.e. kill the colony) but if no ants return they might decide to stop following the paths into my flat. So if I trap them and put them somewhere where the numerous spiders who insist on living with me can feed, then my formic victims will not have died for nothing in the natural scheme of things...

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  6. Lol, I must say that must've taken some thought! However, I assure you it wont be easy!

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  7. Haha, I agree! On reflection, the only thing I could think of was keeping the ants in a bait box or something, and picking out individual victims to throw to the spiders, which is all a bit too ancient Rome for me.

    Perhaps rather than release the spiders out of windows (which I usually do), I'll place them all around the back door, so in the ant colony's map of the world, my flat will be marked, "Here be spiders."

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  8. That's good news. I just found 3 piles of dead ants, and a single spider sitting there looking all innocent. Spidey to the rescue!

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