Q:

What do jumping spiders eat?

A:

Jumping spiders eat insects and feed almost strictly on female mosquitoes with blood in their stomachs. One species eats mainly plant material, and some species subsist on nectar, but the majority of jumping spiders are carnivores with very particular tastes.

Studies show that jumping spiders go out of their way to seek out female mosquitoes that have recently fed on invertebrate blood. They also gravitate towards mosquitoes that have the fluffy antennae that is exclusive to females. As of 2014, scientists are not sure why jumping spiders require fresh blood, but it seems to be vital to their survival.

The study proving jumping spiders prefer freshly fed female mosquitoes was conducted by gluing the heads, thoraxes and abdomens of various fed, starved, male and female mosquitoes together. The scientists offered the jumping spiders various combinations, and the spiders consistently chose the mosquitoes with female antennae and swollen, red stomachs. The jumping spider hunts by following a mosquito until it is just an inch away. It pounces on the insect, often landing on the mosquito's belly and biting it in the air. The jumping spider grasps the insect as it falls to the ground and eats it once they both land together.

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