With as huge a variety of fauna as our planet has, it should come as no surprise to anyone that some animals deviate from what we expect them to do. But of course, we do. Every once and again a study is published, informing us of certain behaviors in a species that we find too strange to be true.
In one of the most recent studies of the kind, a team of researchers from the University of Basel revealed that certain spiders enjoy occasionally eating veggies. Even though they are still mostly insectivores, some species of spiders add a little balance to their diets every once and again.
While most spiders are generally seen as terrifying, a certain species has grown in the public eye in recent times. Starting being viewed as cute, the adorable jumping spiders have even more surprises up their athletically designed sleeves.
Along with a few other species of spider, the jumping spiders were found to include the occasional vegetable in their diet. Seeds, sap, nectar, pollen, leaves and honeydew were some of the most enjoyed greens in the jumping spiders’ and ten other spider families’ diets.
Being a family that contains over 5,000 species spread all around the globe, the jumping spiders officially go by Salticidae. According to the study performed by the team of Swiss researchers, the jumping spiders cover sixty percent of all the plant eating activities within the spider ranks.
Also looking at the worldwide distribution of these plant-eating adorable arachnids, the team found something quite odd and as of yet still unexplained. Even though the critters are spread all over the world and engage in their plant eating activities wherever they are, Antarctica was the only place in the world where the spider remained strictly insectivore.
According to the study’s lead author, Martin Nyffeler,
Diversifying their diet with plant is advantageous from a nutritional point of view, since diet mixing is optimizing nutrient intake.
This has apparently evolved as a means of survival for the spiders, as being able to eat a wider diet can actually help them better survive the winter and other times when their regular food is scarce. This adds to the dilemma regarding why Antarctic spiders stay strictly insectivore.
Even though the findings were not at all unexpected, as spiders are mobile, adaptable, plant-dwelling insects, further studies have to be performed in order to better understand the strange dietary habits of these most irregular of arachnids.
Image source: Wikimedia