Does a spider need a web to catch its prey?
Does a spider need a web to catch its prey? Front view of a trap-jaw spider head (family Mecysmaucheniidae) showing pinching mouthparts that snap shut to capture prey the same size or even larger than itself. (Hannah Wood, Smithsonian/Stephanie Stone)
Does a spider need a web to catch its prey?
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What sort of spider can capture its prey without a web? We think of spiders as web-makers, but about half of all known spider species do not make webs. Still, they have organs called spinnerets that spin out silk for other uses. Silk can help a spider wrap up their eggs to make an egg case, line its burrow, or swing to the ground from a branch.
 
All spiders are predators, and they sport a huge variety of tactics for capturing their prey. Spiders that do not make webs have other ways to get their meals. A wolf spider hunts down prey, pounces, and may use its long legs to straight-jacket it. A fishing spider gets its meal by scurrying over water towards vibrations made by prey. A bolas spider dangles sticky balls made of silk and mucus that are scented to lure in moths. A spitting spider launches a sticky fluid to immobilize its victims.
 
Regardless of their capture technique, nearly all spiders use venom. Once a spider has its prey in hand (actually in its grasping appendages called "chelicerae"), it pierces it with sharp fangs to inject the venom. Spider venom can damage nervous systems or other body tissues, depending on the species. But the vast majority of spider venom does not cause any harm to humans.
 
One group of spiders with a long name (Palpimanoids) tends to specialize on eating other spiders. What's odd is that the way these spiders capture prey may be as complex as their long scientific name. The pelican spider plucks at other spiders' webs, then swings its super-long chelicerae outward to pierce them after attracting them over. Another spider in the same group has vice-like chelicerae that snap shut on its prey with an acceleration that can exceed 1,000 times the acceleration of a space shuttle. Dubbed the trap-jaw spider by Smithsonian entomologist Dr. Hannah Wood, its jaw-like parts look like they are doing splits while they wait in the open position for prey.

Learn more about how spiders capture prey in a live "Smithsonian Science How" webcast on Thursday, January 12, 2017. In "Powerful Predators: Adaptations of Trap-Jaw Spiders" (airs at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. EST on the Q?rius website), Smithsonian scientist Hannah Wood will show you the technology she uses to analyze spider predator adaptations and answer your questions live. You can also get teaching resources to use with the webcast.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/teen/does-spider-need-web-catch-its-prey/

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How do vibrations help a fishing spider?
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COMMENTS (94)
  • brianb-pay
    1/11/2017 - 08:22 a.m.

    Yes spiders need a web to catch a prey and they also do not need a web. Spiders do not need a web to catch their prey because they have many other tactics to kill. Depending on what type of spider, their is a different way of catching prey. Some spiders are not able to use a web so they use their special ablilities to catch prey. As stated from "does spider need a web to catch a prey" from Tweentribune.com, some spiders do not need a web to catch their prey. For example the fishing spider gets it meal by scurrying over water towards vibrations made by prey. A bolas spider dangles sticky balls made of silk and mucus that are scented to lure in moths. And a spitting spider launches a sticky fluid to immobilize its victims. And Regardless of their capture techniques nearly all spiders use venom. So it is not only a web spiders may use to capture their prey, they make elaborate traps, luring methods, or use their ninja like moves. At the end of the day spiders have many ways to catch their prey, they could use their web or tactics to catch their prey. Or they would use silk to catch prey. So yes spiders does and does not need their web to capture their prey.

  • sylviao-pay
    1/11/2017 - 08:24 a.m.

    Does a spider need a web to catch its prey?
    spiders dont necessarily need a web to catch its prey. 1/2 of the spiders species dont make webs for prey but instead hunt for them. spiders use many different tactics to catch their prey witch depends on the species. for example as stated by the article " A wolf spider hunts down prey, pounces, and may use its long legs to straight-jacket it. A fishing spider gets its meal by scurrying over water towards vibrations made by prey." the article also states that the silk in spider webs is actually used to protect the eggs by warping around them to make an egg case but because of how sticky silk is the webs are also used to catch prey even though its not necessary. to conculde a spider dose not need to web to catch its prey

  • asiar-pay
    1/11/2017 - 08:25 a.m.

    How do spiders commonly trap their prey? Usually, they use webs, but is that the only way for them to trap their prey? According to the article, "Does a spider need a web to catch its prey," by Devin Reese, some spiders use other tactics to catch their prey. All spiders have venom which they use to demobilize their prey. In the article it states, "...it pierces it with sharp fangs to inject the venom." When the spider does it, it attacks nervous system or the body tissues. Although all spiders use venom, different species of spiders use different tactics. For example, the wolf spider hunts down prey, pounces, and may use its long legs to straight jacket it. (This means the spiders strangles its prey until it can no longer breathe.) Another example would be the fishing spider which uses the vibrations in the water made by the prey to capture it. To conclude, there are numerous different ways for a spider to attack/capture its way without using a web.

  • mikeb-pay
    1/11/2017 - 08:25 a.m.

    Spiders are amazing creatures with amazing talent but not all of them are the same some of them use webs to get there prey and some don't. As stated in the article spider use different kind of tactics to catch there prey. All spider have web making ability but not all of them use that ability.One of the things that spiders do have in common is that nearly all spiders use venom. Most of the spiders venom is not harmful to human. But there are some spider which can be classified as venomous according to www.cdc.gov there are spiders like black widow and the brown recluse and more which can be dangerous.

  • dandres-pay
    1/11/2017 - 08:26 a.m.

    Most people know spiders as little eight legged creatures that catch flys with there webs but the real question is can a spider get food without its web.The answer to this would be yes. According to the article there are many spider who use tactics other than webs to catch its prey.For example the wolf spider hunts down prey, pounces, and may use its long legs to straight-jacket it. A fishing spider gets its meal by scurrying over water towards vibrations made by prey. And bolas spider dangles sticky balls made of silk and mucus that are scented to lure in moths. These spiders put our perspective of them in a whole other way because we cant just view them as web catchers anymore.But regardless of the technique all of these spiders are significant in their own way.

  • melaniem-pay
    1/11/2017 - 08:26 a.m.

    A spider doesn't always need a spider web to catch its prey. In the article, the author,Devin Reese, states the different techniques different spiders use to catch their prey. The techniques spiders use to catch their prey varies from shooting spit to attracting their food with scents. Although the concept of spider webs is closely linked with catching prey, it's not necessarily always true. Other techniques they have are dangling sticky balls towards its prey, scurrying across water, and hunting down their prey.
    Dangling sticky balls and lunging them at your prey is another known way to catch prey. However, the balls usually have a specific scent that the 8-legged creature uses to lure their victims. Apart from using scented balls to attract prey, spiders can also catch their food by scurrying over water by the vibrations caused by its prey. The fishing spider usually specializes in this technique. Another technique used by the Spitting Spider is to immobilize its victim with a sticky fluid.

    Although all these different spiders differ in their way to catch their food, one thing they generally have in common is to inject their venom into their prey.

  • annd-pay
    1/11/2017 - 08:27 a.m.

    Spiders have different techniques to catching their prey. "We think of spiders as web-makers, but about half of all known spiders species do not make webs." Does a spider need a web to catch its prey? Spiders have many abilities. Some different to others. Not all spiders need webs to catch their daily meal. for example,The Wolf Spider doesn't make webs to catch their food. Instead, they use the element of surprise by hiding under leaves, bark and sticks and chase down their prey when it passes by. Another example would be a tarantula.These spiders use the ambush method to capture their prey and do not build webs. Most tarantulas will stick to insects as their main source of food, but bigger tarantulas.Despite what people might assume, the majority of spiders do not actually make webs, although all spiders share some characteristics and most produce a silk-like material of some kind to help them trap their prey.

  • jadem-pay
    1/11/2017 - 08:27 a.m.

    No, spiders do not need a web to catch its prey. According to the text, "Does a spider need a web to catch its prey?", not every spider has the ability to make webs so they have other tactics for capturing their prey. For example, Devin Reese states that, "The wolf spider hunts down its prey, pounces, and may use its long legs to straight-jacket it." Other spiders that don't have webs such as the spitting spider, which launches a sticky fluid to immobilize their victims. Not every spider species can make webs, but they have silk where they can wrap up their eggs in a case, line a burrow, and swing to the ground from a branch. So no, not every spider needs a web to catch its prey, because not every spider have the ability to make a web so they have to use other abilities that they may possess, which makes every spider different from the other.

  • alishaf-pay
    1/11/2017 - 08:27 a.m.

    Not all spiders are the same. Some spiders use webs to catch their prey, but other spiders don't. They have to use tactics to catch their prey. According to the article, the wolf spider tracks the prey, pounces, then uses its long straight legs as a straight jacket to control the prey and stop it from running away. According to the article, even though they still have silk in their organs called spinnerets, they use it to spin their eggs, line its burrow, or swing from the branch. they use that silk as an advantage to help them catch prey and protect their eggs. If the prey is something they can eat, they will go after it using their body to their advantage instead of depending on a web. Webs are also good because you can catch things flying in the air. But their is a spider who tricks other spiders on webs. For example, the article says how a spider known as the pelican spider, plucks at other spider's webs to make them think prey got stuck in the web, when in reality, it's their waiting so it can pierce it with its super long chelicerae to pierce the unknowing prey. Overall, not all spiders need webs to catch their prey they can use their different tactics to catch their prey.

  • joshuas-pay
    1/11/2017 - 08:28 a.m.

    Spiders are very interesting creatures. You can tell that a spider has been present by its all know trademark, the spider web. Spiderwebs are used among most spiders to catch prey, for homes, and etc. However, I am here to clear up the misconception that all spiders use spider webs to catch their prey. As stated in the text, All spiders are predators, and they sport a huge variety of tactics for capturing their prey. Spiders that do not make webs have other ways to get their meals. Some of these spiders are the wolf spider who hunts down their prey by pouncing, the fishing spider who gets its meal by scurrying over water towards vibrations made by prey, the bolas spider which dangles scented sticky balls made of silk to lure their prey, and the spitting spider which launches a sticky fluid to immobilize its victims. Although some people might argue that all spiders make spiderwebs because they all have silk. But as stated above, although all spiders have spinnerets that create silk, that does not mean that they all use spiderwebs in their everyday lifestyle.

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