An orb web spider feeding on a fly

Photo courtesy Ed Nieuwenhuys

Spider Hunting Methods

Spiders are predators, above all else, so hunting and killing is where they really shine. In the bug world, spiders are fairly fearsome animals -- they're the tiny equivalent of wolves, lions or sharks.

Different spiders employ different hunting strategies. As we saw in the last section, some species build intricate webs to ensnare passing insects. Other spiders, such as the various wolf spiders, seek their prey out on the ground. Trap door spiders dig holes, cover them up with dirt doors hinged with spider silk, and lie in wait for passing prey. Similarly, some spiders hide inside flowers to catch feeding insects by surprise.

Photo courtesy Ed Nieuwenhuys

Two examples of crab spiders camouflaging themselves to catch insects off guard: Misumena vatia, the yellow crab spider above, can change its coloration over a couple of days to match flowers and other surroundings.

Photo courtesy Ed Nieuwenhuys

In the next section, we'll find out what spiders do when they catch their prey, whether in a web or on the ground.