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Old 12-26-2007, 08:52 PM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Trantor
Posts: 11,496
What do spiders eat all winter?

I see spiders regularly in my house (mostly in the kitchen and bathrooms). There are no flies or mosquitos around this time of year and I believe they are obligate carnivores. There is an occasional roach, but they are enormously larger than the spiders (which rarely exceed a cm. For the last couple years, we had an infestation of nut moths (I had a sealed package of beans from a local company that was full of them, so that was obviously the source) but I haven't seen one in a couple months. So where are the spiders getting nourishment from?
Old 12-26-2007, 09:20 PM
lissener lissener is offline
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Chicago
Posts: 17,197
Many of them die in the fall, leaving behind an egg case for next year's brood. Tarntulas (not technically spiders, IIRC, but mygalomorphs, which as I understand it are awful dang close to spiders, but about half a step back on the evolutionary ladder) tend to live in tropical climates where there's less of a seasonal change.
Old 12-26-2007, 09:38 PM
Contrapuntal Contrapuntal is offline
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Under the lion's paw
Posts: 13,267
One answer.

Sort of an answer :
Q. Do spiders hibernate in Winter?
A. Spiders like the garden orb weavers, argiopes, widow varieties that only live one season, will die in Winter, leaving behind their egg sac for the next season. Other spiders like tarantulas and fishing spiders, that live longer may hibernate in Winter spending the cold weather under tree bark or rocks, or in cellars and attics. Some adults survive by preparing a winter nest of silken webbing under loose bark within which they are insulated from the cold. In several species, young spiderlings hatch out, then remain in a communal webbed egg sac through the winter. Those spiders that hibernate in leaf litter and in rock piles often are not deeply asleep, and on mild winter days may crawl about in search of insect food that is plentiful and easy to secure in its dormant state. Young spiders often take refuge in moss, and should you bring a clump into the house, be prepared to have spiderlings and many other little hibernating creatures crawl out as warmth unlocks their muscles and increases their metabolism and consumption of oxygen.
From here.
Old 12-27-2007, 08:03 AM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Trantor
Posts: 11,496
Maybe I didn't make it clear. These are tiny (maybe 1cm) spiders that I see regularly in the kitchen and bathroom all winter. I doubt that they leave the house. Presumably they need water. But can they live on microscopic dust mites? That would be the only source of food that I can think of.


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