Tuesday, 25 April, 2017

Hungry spiders saving us from an invasion of insects

The global spider population only adds up to a weight of about 25 million tons – but these creatures consume a comparable amount of prey to that of humans and even whales Spiders outdo humans as they chomp though 800 million tonnes of prey a year
Garry Little | 16 March, 2017, 00:19

The researchers then used two simple models to calculate how much prey all the world's spiders as a whole kill per year.

Among the astronomical amount of prey, insects and springtails remain the top snack for the spiders, accounting for over 90 percent of their annual prey consumption, Other spiders, especially large tropical spiders, sometimes feast on small vertebrates, such as snakes, frogs, lizards, bats and fishes. Their combined meat and fish intake is about 400 million tons a year.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, worldwide human population consumes around 400 million tonnes of meat and fish every year.

"In concert with other insectivorous animals such as ants and birds, they help to reduce the population densities of insects significantly", said lead study author and University of Basel professor Martin Nyffeler in a statement.

The researchers estimated, based on 65 existing studies, that the spider population would weigh the equivalent of 25 million tons.

"Spiders thus make an essential contribution to maintaining the ecological balance of nature".

Researchers have revealed that spiders wipe out an estimated 400-800 million tonnes of prey every year, compared to an estimated 280-500 million tonnes of prey that the world's whales eat.

I can't even conceive of what a single pound of spiders would look like, let alone 25 million metric tons of them.

The figure reflects the fact that forests, grasslands and savannas are less frequently disturbed than for instance agricultural or urban areas, and therefore allow for greater spider biomass.

In some parts of the world, spiders have a population density of 1,000 individuals per square meter.

"These estimates emphasise the important role that spider predation plays in semi-natural and natural habitats, as many economically important pests and disease vectors breed in those forest and grassland biomes", says Nyffeler.

"We hope that these estimates and their significant magnitude raise public awareness and increase the level of appreciation for the important global role of spiders in terrestrial food webs", adds Nyffeler.

The findings are reported in The Science of Nature.

Recommended

  • Power Brands Ford and Boeing All Set to Take Over China

    Power Brands Ford and Boeing All Set to Take Over China

    Chinese consumers have a distinct fondness for foreign cars and major luxury vehicle brands are already present in the market. Lincoln sold 32,559 vehicles in China past year , about triple the number of sales in 2015, the brand reported in January.
    CIA Regains Authority To Drone Strike Terrorists Under Trump

    CIA Regains Authority To Drone Strike Terrorists Under Trump

    That policy lent itself to more transparency, because the Pentagon is required to publicly report most airstrikes. Although Obama pushed for the use of drones, he kept the military in place to conduct the actual strike.
    Raiders Sign Ex-Vikings Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, Boost Return Game

    Raiders Sign Ex-Vikings Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, Boost Return Game

    The result ended up with Patterson only catching a total of 35 passes and one touchdown in his next two seasons with the Vikings. Just go out and enjoy it, man, keep thanking God. "Raider Nation, baby", Patterson said with amazement.
  • Obtained tax documents shed new light on Donald Trump's finances

    Obtained tax documents shed new light on Donald Trump's finances

    For months now, Trump has refused to release his tax returns, claiming he is barred from doing so because he is under audit. Trump had said that he was under audit by the Internal Revenue Service and that his attorneys had advised against it.
    Trump Travels To Detroit To Announce New Fuel Efficiency Rules

    Trump Travels To Detroit To Announce New Fuel Efficiency Rules

    The EPA essentially finalized these regulations as they were walking out the door during the Obama administration. GOP leaders were absolutely certain the White House policy would fail miserably, and they were hilariously wrong.
    Raiders add speedster Cordarrelle Patterson to boost return game — National Football League  free agency

    Raiders add speedster Cordarrelle Patterson to boost return game — National Football League free agency

    He set a career high with 52 receptions and was as unsafe as ever on kick returns, winning his third return title in the process. Patterson posted a series of messages on his Snapchat account, which we'll sum up thusly: "All I am hearing is stay w/Vikings.
  • Police raid Audi offices in Volkswagen probe

    Audi was responsible for designing and manufacturing some of the engines that enabled the Volkswagen to cheat on emissions tests. The searches began shortly before the beginning of the Audi's annual earning press conference. "We will keep at it".
    Google app beta testers reportedly getting a re-design

    Google app beta testers reportedly getting a re-design

    The app shows a list of your kids' most-used apps, their physical location and options for managing their privileges. Google goes on to clarify that it is ultimately the parent's job to manage what their kids view on their device.

    Samsung to begin production of foldable smartphone in Q3 2017

    Close on the heels of this comes news that premium foldable smartphones from the company is in the final stages of development. Commentators point out that Samsung seemed to be following the same strategy it used with Edge displays.
  • Tesla opens first showroom in Korea

    Tesla opens first showroom in Korea

    The company's CEO has also said that the company plans to release the Tesla Model Y before either of these two vehicles . Since the start of the year through March 15, Tesla shares had risen 20 percent.
    Federal Judge Won't Apply Stay To Revised Travel Ban

    Federal Judge Won't Apply Stay To Revised Travel Ban

    District Judge James Robart in Seattle after Washington state sued, claiming the order was discriminatory and violated the U.S. It bars new visas for people from six predominantly Muslim countries - Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria , Sudan and Yemen.
    Hawkeyes to Host 2017 WNIT on Thursday

    Hawkeyes to Host 2017 WNIT on Thursday

    UNI has been in the tournament three times - the Panthers made back-to-back appearances in 2010 and 2011. We'll have more on Iowa's NIT appearance and opponent later this evening.

IPhone 8 won't feature curved OLED display after all Apple is rumored to be contemplating to release a 5.8-inch iPhone in 2017 to give tough competition to other OEMs. The fact that Apple plans to feature a 5.8-inch O-LED screen on the iPhone 8 is also a bonus for the phone.

Everyone's Talking About The BBC Interview That Went Completely Pear-Shaped Everyone's Talking About The BBC Interview That Went Completely Pear-Shaped It started when a video of worldwide relations professor Robert Kelly's interview about South Korea on BBC began circulating online.

Valeant Stake Held by Bill Ackman Sold At Huge Loss Valeant Stake Held by Bill Ackman Sold At Huge Loss In this article, we will talk about three hedge funds that still love Valeant as well as discuss the performance of the company. The fund lost more than 90 percent of its investment and almost $3 billion just on the shares it owned at the end of 2016.