Fast acrobatic maneuvers enable arboreal spiders to hunt dangerous prey

Alfonso Aceves Aparicio*, Ajay Narendra, Donald James McLean, Elizabeth C. Lowe, Marcelo Christian, Jonas O. Wolff, Jutta Schneider, Mariella Herberstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


Spiders, the most specious taxon of predators, have evolved an astounding range of predatory strategies, including group hunting, specialized silk traps, pheromone-loaded bolas, and aggressive mimicry. Spiders that hunt prey defended with behavioral, mechanical, or chemical means are under additional selection pressure to avoid injury and death. Ants are considered dangerous because they can harm or kill their predators, but some groups of spiders, such as the Theridiidae, have a very high diversification of ant-hunting species and strategies [J. Liu et al., Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 94, 658–675 (2016)]. Here, we provide detailed behavioral analyses of the highly acrobatic Australian ant-slayer spider, Euryopis umbilicata (Theridiidae), that captures much larger and defended Camponotus ants on vertical tree trunks. The hunting sequence consists of ritualized steps performed within split seconds, resulting in an exceptionally high prey capture success rate.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2205942119
Pages (from-to)1-3
Number of pages3
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number40
Early online date19 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Australia
  • coevolution
  • diet
  • silk


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