Spider energy requirements.
October 7, 2012 4:27 PM   Subscribe

What percentage of a spider's energy diet is spent on spinning web?
posted by curious nu to Pets & Animals (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I have no clue, but throwing the query to google scholar gives The energy budget of an orb web-building spider as a first hit. Alas I don't have any known free PDFs of the research. But amongst the web of citations, you can find The Energetics of Web-Building in Spiders. From what I gather, they put spiders in a closed system and measure oxygen consumption as a proxy for metabolism. They do come up with a caloric measure for web itself.

But since your question is about percentage of caloric diet, you'd need to compare whatever data you pull from the above with data on diets for the species in question.
posted by pwnguin at 4:40 PM on October 7, 2012

I don't have a percentage for you and I'm not sure where to get one but will generalize a bit. A spider's web is spun using proteins taken directly from their body, so the energy requirements can be very large. I imagine it varies greatly from spider to spider, though. Orb weavers spin huge webs which no doubt require quite a bit of energy to make, for instance. Jumping spiders, on the other hand, do not to my knowledge make webs as they actively stalk and hunt prey instead.

Also one thing that is going to have a significant (reducing) effect on the energy requirements is that web-spinning spiders will consume their web when it is damaged or not useful to them. They are able to recycle the proteins used in its creation and reclaim the energy involved in building it. This both speaks to the fact that spiders put a lot of energy into their webs (otherwise they wouldn't go to the trouble of recycling them) and also shows the ingeniousness of the web-spinning behavior and physiology.
posted by Scientist at 5:23 PM on October 7, 2012

« Older Best practice for "other content" link placement   |   Iconic clothing or accessories for twentieth... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.