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Scientists report that fish-eating spiders are more common than previously thought


In what is probably the most terrifying news of the week, spiders can now eat things that are twice their size.

The discovery was made by scientists who published a paper on Wednesday in PLoS ONE, which states that "fish predation by semi-aquatic spiders is geographically widespread, occurring on all continents except Antarctica".

While it's been known for sometime that certain species of spiders are fond of a bit of fish, it wasn't clear how common it was among our eight-legged friends (or foe, depending on how you see it).

According to the report, the pescatarian arachnids belong to eight different taxonomic families but only one of the spiders lives underwater. Most of the areas in which these types of spiders can be found in the warmer areas of the world, such as Australia, central Africa and southeastern USA.

The way in which they catch their prey is also rather lovely (note the sarcasm), they wait on a rock for a fish to touch one of their legs before diving into the water and biting the neck of their prey, killing them. Then they drag it onto land and eat it.

True, spiders do normally eat insects but occasionally kill fish 2-6 cm in length, about 2.2 times the size of their own bodies.

Just one quick question: how long will it take until they can start eating things even bigger than a fish?

Good luck sleeping tonight.

(Main image: Rex Features)



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