Spiders eat a lot — like, as much or more than humans do.
A study found the arachnids down between 400 million and 800 million metric tons of prey every year.
Let’s put that in perspective. Whales are thought to eat about 280 million to 500 million metric tons of prey a year. And humans eat around 400 million metric tons of meat and fish annually.
If you’re wondering why all of this matters, imagine if spiders didn’t get rid of at least 400 million metric tons of bugs every year. Enough said.
But in more serious terms, this matters because scientists have quantified how big of a role the eight-legged critters play in the global ecosystem.
And spiders are apparently pretty difficult to track. Some are nocturnal, and others are just really good at hiding.
Ultimately, the authors point out, these findings show spiders are “major natural enemies of insects” and help limit population sizes.
Another fun fact: Spiders have a population density up to 1,000 spiders per square meter. So there are probably a few around you right now.