Many of you have probably heard that myth about spiders only being able to consume their prey in liquefied form. However, this is most certainly not true as there are several different spiders and arachnids that simply eat their prey, or parts of it, in the same way that you and I eat, and that is by stuffing their faces with as much food as possible.
Then again, many spiders, especially smaller ones, do indeed digest their prey while their prey is located outside of the spider’s body. With many spiders the digestive process begins outside of the spider. The orb-weaving spider, for example, will wait for an insect to get caught in its web. Once the insect prey is unable to escape, the orb-weaver will then wrap its insect prey in webbing until it is ready to consume its meal. What happens next is the disgusting part.
One of the first steps involved in insect-on-insect eating is to vomit digestive fluid all over the poor and unfortunate insect prey. This digestive fluid is easily corrosive enough to effectively melt the insect prey. Once the orb-weavers meal is properly emulsified, it will begin to chew away at the insect prey. The orb-weaver is not bothered by a few chunky parts that have not yet been properly digested. Sometimes, if the harder parts of an insect prey are still too tough to be digested, the orb-weaver will digest, and then ingest its prey repeatedly until the orb-weavers prey is completely digested. The orb-weaver, along with any other spider, will usually leave discarded remains from its insect prey behind–that must be a pleasant site. So now you know how spiders eat their prey, so be lucky that you don’t have to go through the same ordeal every time you want a midnight snack.
Have you ever encountered a spider’s partially digested and unfinished meal?