Date: 3/16/17 11:47 am
From: Jerry Davis <jwdavis...>
Subject: Re: Birds and Spiders - Spiders eat astronomical numbers of Insects - A Note
Thanks for sharing. I hope that your insight will inspire others to support spiders and insects.

Jerry W. Davis
Hot Springs, AR

From: Norman Lavers
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 1:22 PM
To: <ARBIRD-L...>
Subject: Re: Birds and Spiders - Spiders eat astronomical numbers of Insects - A Note

Really interesting info. Thanks.
We watch the hummers go along our cedars to pick off the little spiders. When our big Argiope spiders go missing from their webs at night (and not just to make an egg nest somewhere) we know someone, perhaps a Screech Owl, had a substantial meal.

Norman has been looking at spiders closely this last couple of years and has found well over 100 species of spiders in our never-sprayed yard of less than 1 acre. A few species we have only seen when wasps dropped them on their way to stock their mud nests, they are far better at finding them than we are. The variety of ways in which spiders make their living, the many kinds of webs, the tunnels like trap-doors and pursewebs, the way that jumping spiders respond to us with their big eyes, the ways in which some species care for their young, it is all fascinating and makes me feel very sorry for arachnophobes who are missing out on all that. Go out at night with a headlamp fixed near your eye level and look at the ground in Spring and Summer. It will sparkle like the night sky with the eyes of hundreds of (mainly) wolf spiders. Then you will get a sense of their numbers.

Cheryl Lavers

On Thursday, March 16, 2017 11:51 AM, Janine Perlman <jpandjf...> wrote:

That's terrific information, Jerry. Birds specifically choose spiders because their nestlings require them. Insects are deficient in taurine, which is required by nestlings for normal neurodevelopment.
Spiders, on the other hand, are rich in taurine, and are thus necessary for successful propagation of our native avian species.


On 3/16/2017 11:19 AM, Jerry Davis

This article brings up a point that I have not made in a while which deals with birds, native plants and native insects. A good indicator for the habitat health of your yard is whether it supports spiders. If there are not enough insects to support spiders or you have bathed your yard in pesticides to eliminate such, it is probably of little value to birds. If you do not see evidence of spiders by webs, burrows, and on your plants you do not have a healthy system to support birds. Those that observe their nest boxes will see birds feeding spiders to their young. Those with acrophobia need to get control of it and let insects and spiders thrive for the birds.

Jerry W. Davis
Hot Springs, AR

Study: Spiders eat astronomical numbers of bugs
Spiders eat about 440 million to 880 million tons of insects and other pests each year, according to a new study. That’s equal to the weight of more than 85 million elephants.
That’s a lot of bugs.
Put another way, all humans together consume an estimated 440 million tons of meat and fish annually. Whales feed on 300 million to 550 million tons of seafood, while the world’s total seabird population eats an estimated 77million tons of fish and other seafood.
The study, published in the
European journal The Science of Nature, is the first to make such a global estimate of spiders’ eating habits.
Most spiders, of which there are about 45,000 species, are found in forests, grasslands and shrub lands, followed by croplands, deserts, urban areas and tundra areas.
The ravenous appetite of spiders keeps countless insect pests, especially in forests and grassland, in check. The spiders serve to protect plants and trees by eating the bugs that would feed on them, according to study lead author Martin Nyffeler of the University of Basel in Switzerland.

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