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What Do Jumping Spiders Eat?

Jumping spiders have flexible diets. They will eat all types of insects they can find in their habitat, including crickets, flies, cockroaches, moths, and other smaller insects. They will occasionally consume worms such as wax worms and mealworms.

what do jumping spiders eat

Jumping spiders are spiders that ambush their prey rather than spinning webs to catch prey. They will surprise their prey and pounce on it when they spot an opportunity. If needed, they will use their strong jumping legs to pin down their target.

Foods that Jumping Spiders Eat

As carnivores, jumping spiders will not shy away from any opportunity they can to find food. However, these are the most common types of prey that jumping spiders will eat.

1. Crickets

Jumping spiders will catch crickets they find appropriate by singling one cricket out and ambushing it. The spider will pounce on the cricket when it feels no threats, which makes it easy for the spider to kill the cricket.

The hydraulic legs of the jumping spider allow the spider to jump six times their body length. This helps them catch targets that are well out of their reach, which makes it easier for them to catch their prey by surprise.

Crickets don’t have the best defences out there, making them a relatively easy type of prey for jumping spiders.

2. Flies

Because of their jumping ability, jumping spiders are also capable of catching flying insects such as flies.

Flies can be tough to catch for the spider while it’s flying, which is why it will prefer to go after this insect when it’s stationary. When they find an opportunity to do so, the jumping spider will jump onto the fly and kill it with its venom.

3. Cockroaches

Just like crickets, cockroaches don’t have the best defenses against predators. That’s why they like to bury themselves into holes and hide in hiding spots, which is not a guarantee that will keep them alive.

Jumping spiders will still find a way to isolate the cockroach. They often share habitats, as jumping spiders like to live in forests and scrublands, where cockroaches are sometimes found.

The cockroach is a good meal for the spider because it’s full of nutrients that benefit the spider. Larger cockroaches are often preferred because they can feed several spiders at the same time.

4. Moths

Even though jumping spiders are at their most active during the day, they can also catch night-time creatures like moths.

They are good at finding moths during the day, especially in dark and hidden corners of nature where moths tend to lurk when the sun is out. If the jumping spider can locate a moth like that, it is an easy type of prey for the spider.

Sometimes, spiders will also catch moths at night, which might be slightly more challenging for the spider as the moth keeps flying around.

5. Bugs

In addition to insects, jumping spiders will also eat bugs or anything that moves and is carnivorous.

These spiders are not choosy in terms of food; they are opportunistic by nature, which allows them to find opportunities to hunt quite regularly. They also have quite good senses – their eyesight is good, in particular.

This enables them to spot insects around them quite easily, including smaller bugs. When the jumping spider spots an opportunity like that, it will not waste its time to catch the bug or the animal that they can isolate.

6. Worms

Jumping spiders will also eat worms they can find around them, including wax worms and meal worms.

Worms are quite easy for the jumping target to catch because they’re not particularly fast and they also don’t have great defences. The spider will take the opportunity when the worm comes out and pounce on it.

Sometimes, the spider will create burrows and holes just to catch these worms. This acts as a surprise for the worms, as the jumping spider creates an opportunity for itself to catch the worms and have a good meal.

Jumping Spiders Eat Larger Animals, Too

There is a body of research that points towards a fascinating occurrence: small jumping spiders preying on animals that are up to three times larger than them.

Small jumping spiders – regal jumping spiders, in particular, have the ability to catch animals that are two or three times larger than them, according to research.

Regal jumping spiders are one of the larger species of jumping spiders, as they can reach a size of about an inch. Still, it is a great achievement for the jumping spider to prey on frogs or lizards that are several times larger.

The most important mechanism that allows them to do so is their jumping ability. Thanks to this skill, they’re able to pounce on larger targets and surprise them, making the jumping spider highly effective even against larger animals. Some jumping spiders will use their venom to kill or paralyze the larger animal.

FAQ

Do jumping spiders eat ants?

Yes, jumping spiders will also eat ants as a snack. Occasionally, the jumping spider will eat ants as a smaller meal if they can find ants. They’ll prey on ants just like they do on other animals – by pouncing.

Do jumping spiders eat other spiders?

Jumping spiders will sometimes eat other spiders that are smaller than them in size. They will still prioritize insects and other animals they can catch, although occasionally, they will also go after smaller spiders. They prefer spiders that don’t have potent venoms and aren’t that hard to catch.

Do jumping spiders eat fruit?

Jumping spiders are carnivores, which means they eat meat-based sources primarily. This includes insects and worms as well as larger animals, so they don’t tend to eat fruit. However, they might suck the fruit nectar if they find an opportunity to do that.

Conclusion

Jumping spiders are one of the most fascinating spider species in the world. They are good at pouncing on other animals as they go around their habitat, making them exceptional at hunting smaller insects and other animals that are vulnerable to their attacks.