A typical spider can live for 1 to 2 months without eating food. Due to uncertainty in the food supply, spiders have evolved such that they can regulate their metabolism according to their environment. Spiders generally have a low metabolism rate compared to similar-sized ectothermic poikilotherms (50% of the expected for their size). Low metabolic rate and carnivorous diet help spiders to survive without food for a long period.
How long can a spider go without eating?
Are you going away from your home for a few days and worried about your pet spider? or just wondering how long can a spider survive without food?
Spiders can easily live for more than 2 to 3 months (60-90 days) without eating food. Let’s understand this in more detail and find out how a spider can survive for such a long period without food.
Food availability can vary widely for different animals in nature. For spiders, it is really difficult to get food. Spiders have to wait for a long period to capture their prey. This difficult period can last for few hours to few days, sometimes even months. Spiders are arachnids that have adapted to their environment such that they can survive for a long time without eating food and drinking water. A typical spider can survive for 60 days without food. However, this tough survival period varies with different species of spiders. For example, a wolf spider can last for more than 2 months while the barn funnel weaver which is mainly found in North America may not survive for more than 1 month under the unavailability of food and water.
You will be surprised to know that even baby spiders (spiderlings) can go without eating for 1 to 2 months. It is also found that food limitation in juvenile spiders can extend total lifespan but the adult longevity gets decreased. The food limitation in adult spiders can result in a reduction of lifetime egg and hatchling production. However, adult food limitations extend both lifespan and adult longevity.
How do spiders live without food?
Due to inconsistency in food and water supply, spiders do not daily eating routine as humans do. To overcome and adapt to these harsh environments, arachnids generally have a low metabolism rate. Most of the spiders have a relatively low metabolic rate compared to other ectothermic poikilotherms (approximately 50% of expected for their size). This low metabolism rate helps spider to conserve energy and survive for long periods without accessing food and water. Some spider species such as orb-weavers and comb-footed spiders have a relatively high metabolism which helps them in high reproductive rates, rapid growth, and high population densities. The spiders with a low metabolism rate live much longer than the spiders with a high metabolic rate.
Spiders are carnivorous arachnids that feed on flies, mosquitos, gnats, ants, and moths. We know that carnivorous organisms have to eat less compared to herbivorous organisms because carnivorous food contains more fat than herbivorous food and hence, provides more amount of energy. Therefore, spiders have to eat less to gain energy.
How long can daddy long legs live without food?
The daddy longlegs spiders are also known as cellar spiders that are found in the dark and humid places in our homes. These spiders can survive up to 2 months without eating food and drinking water. Daddy longlegs spiders can regulate their metabolism according to the availability of food. However, note that these spiders are susceptible to dehydration. Therefore, daddy longlegs spiders can easily survive for a long time without food but not without water.
How long can a house spider live without food?
Most of the house spiders such as the American house spiders and long-bodied cellar spiders can last for at least one to two months without food. The low metabolism rates and carnivorous diet help these house spiders to go without eating for a long time.
Kleinteich, A., Wilder, S.M. and Schneider, J.M. (2015), Contributions of juvenile and adult diet to the lifetime reproductive success and lifespan of a spider. Oikos, 124: 130-138. https://doi.org/10.1111/oik.01421
John F Anderson, Metabolic rates of spiders, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Volume 33, Issue 1, 1970, Pages 51-72, ISSN 0010-406X, https://doi.org/10.1016/0010-406X(70)90483-4.
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