Vegetarian Spider Hides From Ants So It Can Eat Leaves (Video)
Image via video screengrab
Tiny jumping spiders are already cute - er, well, at least to some people - but one feature putting the Bagheera kiplingi (besides that awesome name) is its diet - it's vegetarian. It actually spends much of its life hiding from ants so it can eat tender leaves in peace.
MSNBC reports that this Central American spider - about the size of a pinky nail - is a rarity among the world's 40,000 or so spider species that are mostly all strictly predators.
"This is really the first spider known to specifically 'hunt' plants; it is also the first known to go after plants as a primary food source," said study researcher Christopher Meehan of Villanova University in Pennsylvania.
Living its life out on acacia plants, the spider nests on the ends of old leaves where guard ants that keep the acacias safe from other herbivores usually don't patrol. The spider has to stay on the lookout for ants, and will use silk droplines as an escape route.
It feasts on the plant tissue, and will occasionally nab an ant larvae or nectar for a special treat.