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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

My Dad used to tell me and my brother never to kill the spiders that we saw inside and outside of our home................Rick he would say: "Spiders in the house = a healthy house", meaning that there were no toxins preventing small insects from living in our home, and thus Spiders to eat them..........And as the article below depicts, "Spiders food consumption likely dwarfs the meat and fish consumption of all of us 7 billion human animals on the planet.........................With over 45,000 species of Spiders worldwide, these arthropods are some of the most successful carnivores on Planet earth, found literally everywhere from the arctic to deserts, grasslands, forest, prairie and chaparral................"Insects and springtails (collembolans) make up about 90 percent of spiders' prey".............. "A few large species eat worms and small vertebrates like birds or bats (or even snakes)................It cannot be overemphasized the important role that spider predation plays in minimizing pest and disease vectors across our natural systems

Spiders Eat Up to 880 Million Tons of Insects Each Year

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Each year, about 27 million tons of spiders consume somewhere between 440 million and 880 million tons of insects, new research finds.
Yeah, that's a lot of bugs.
The new study, published in the journal The Science of Nature, finds that spiders' food consumption rivals — or perhaps dwarfs — the 440 million tons (400 million metric tons) of meat and fish all the humans in world eat each year. Spider prey consumption is similar to the amount of food that all whale species (Cetacea) eat annually, which has been pegged at between 300 million and 550 million tons (280 million and 500 million metric tons), biologist Martin Nyffeler of the University of Basel in Switzerland and ecologist Klaus Birkhofer of the Brandenburg University of Technology in Germany wrote in their paper.

Jumping Spider killing a fly

"By contrast, the annual food consumption of all the world's seabirds is estimated at 70 million tons," the researchers wrote.

Spiders are a very successful group of arthropods. They're found everywhere from deserts to grasslands to forests to Arctic tundra. More than 45,000 individual species have been identified so far, Nyffeler and Birkhofer wrote. Scientists estimate that there are around 131 spiders per every square meter of land on the globe, and in some places up to 1,000 individuals in that area (about the size of a single mattress).
With a few rare exceptions, spiders are carnivores, but it's hard to directly measure their impact on their prey because spiders often hunt at night or in nooks and crannies that are difficult to observe, the researchers wrote. To estimate how much spiders eat, then, the researchers had to start by figuring out how much spider tonnage is out there.
To estimate spider biomass (essentially, the weight of all the spiders in the world), the researchers drew from published data on spider biomass from tropical forests, temperate forests, tropical grasslands, temperate grasslands and shrublands, agricultural land, deserts and Arctic tundra. They then used global land cover for each type of environment to estimate the total weight of spiders on the globe, arriving at 25 million metric tons (about 27 million U.S. tons).
To figure out how much food it takes to keep 27 million tons of spiders creeping and crawling, the researchers used two methods. In the first, they simply estimated the food needs of a spider per the spider's mass. For most spiders, they pegged this at around 0.1 milligram of food per milligram of spider, or about 10 percent of a spider's body weight, each day. For desert spiders, which live notoriously spartan lives, the researchers used estimates of between 0.01 and 0.04 milligrams of food per milligram of spider.

Wolf Spider killing a catapillar

This method led to a range of between 507 million and 772 million U.S. tons (460 million and 700 million metric tons of prey a year).  
The second method involved extrapolating from data taken from the field in which scientists actually counted the number of insects spiders ate. This method led to an estimate of between 435 million and 887 million U.S. tons (395 million and 805 million metric tons).
Insects and springtails (collembolans) make up about 90 percent of spiders' prey, the researchers wrote. A few large species eat worms and small vertebrates, like birds or bats (or even snakes). Forest and grassland spiders are responsible for 95 percent of the prey kill each year, in part because these areas contain the most ground cover and in part because these habitats aren't frequently disturbed. Spiders living in agricultural fields, for example, have to contend with human activities and pesticides. [Goliath Birdeater: Images of a Colossal Spider]
It's impossible to say how many individual insects it takes to get to some 800 million U.S. tons or how many spiders put together weigh 27 million tons, Nyffeler, a senior lecturer in biology, told Live Science. There is too much variation in the estimates, he said. For example, no one knows how many juvenile (and thus smaller) spiders there are per every larger adult. A British arachnologist did estimate in 1947 that there were approximately 2.2 trillion spiders in England and Wales alone, Nyffeler noted.  
The only other group of arthropods that can compete with spiders, pound-for-pound, are ants, Nyeffeler and Birkhofer wrote, but ants are not overwhelmingly carnivorous like spiders are.
"These estimates emphasize the important role that spider predation plays in semi-natural and natural habitats, as many economically important pests and disease vectors breed in those forest and grassland biomes," the researchers wrote. "We hope that these estimates and their significant magnitude raise public awareness and increase the level of appreciation for the important global role of spiders in terrestrial food webs

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