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 Incy vegetarian spider is a scientific first

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PostSubject: Incy vegetarian spider is a scientific first   Sun Oct 11, 2009 1:22 pm

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SCIENTISTS have discovered the world’s first known vegetarian spider.

Bagheera kiplingi, a South American species, lives almost exclusively on leaf buds and is thought to be the only spider of about 40,000 species to have rejected a carnivorous diet.

Instead it has developed a laidback lifestyle based on nutritious wild acacia plants — and has no need to spin a web to catch its prey.

The females have even dispensed with the time-honoured spider custom of eating their sexual partners immediately after mating.

“This is the first spider known to ‘hunt’ plants as a primary food source,” said Christopher Meehan of Villanova University, in Pennsylvania, who observed the creatures, about the size of a thumbnail, on a field trip in Mexico.

The vegetarian diet of B kiplingi appears to have prompted other changes. Since it no longer needs to go through the energy-sapping business of catching prey, it has diverted its web-spinning abilities to building family homes. Mothers use the nests to rear their young.

B kiplingi does not, however, lead an entirely blameless lifestyle. Its food may be vegetarian but the spiders first have to steal it from under the noses of the ants that guard acacias against invaders.

For zoologists, though, the most startling aspect of Meehan’s discovery is that spider physiology was thought to make plant-eating impossible.

“Spiders aren’t thought to be capable of eating solid food at all,” said Meehan. Normally they secrete enzymes onto their prey to digest them outside the body and then consume what’s left as a kind of soup. B kiplingi, however, eats its vegetables whole.
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And what's more, it's adorable.

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PostSubject: Re: Incy vegetarian spider is a scientific first   Sun Oct 11, 2009 1:46 pm

Nifty. I wonder how many other types of "carnivorous" bugs out there are vegetarian.
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PostSubject: Re: Incy vegetarian spider is a scientific first   Sun Oct 11, 2009 2:02 pm

As a bio major I think that is awesome!
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PostSubject: Re: Incy vegetarian spider is a scientific first   Sun Oct 11, 2009 3:37 pm

I wonder if their discovery had anything to do with the acacia berry fad. Ant's might not be the only ones in their way of getting those leaves.

Fasinating article and it is really cute.
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PostSubject: Re: Incy vegetarian spider is a scientific first   Sun Oct 11, 2009 9:44 pm

So it's a raw food vegan that curbs its violent habits and builds family homes. Ha, progressive left-leaning hippie spiders! Laughing

They're very cute. Probably the only spiders with whom I'd want to chat over a cup of tea.
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PostSubject: Re: Incy vegetarian spider is a scientific first   Sun Oct 11, 2009 9:54 pm

RedAngel wrote:
So it's a raw food vegan that curbs its violent habits and builds family homes. Ha, progressive left-leaning hippie spiders! Laughing

Laughing

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PostSubject: Re: Incy vegetarian spider is a scientific first   Mon Oct 12, 2009 5:20 am

RedAngel wrote:
So it's a raw food vegan that curbs its violent habits and builds family homes. Ha, progressive left-leaning hippie spiders! Laughing

They're very cute. Probably the only spiders with whom I'd want to chat over a cup of tea.


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