Meet the Veggie Spider
Buzzing over the web this week is the discovery of the Bagheera kiplingi, a new member to the arachnid family being documented as the first vegetarian of his kind.
The BBC caught the feisty little bugger of Central America feeding on the rich protein tips of the acacia leaves, but the BBC video also unveils that life isn’t easy for a spider with a meatless based diet--the only species of 40,000 to go green. Hard working ants that harvest the acacia leaves have yet to open up and welcome the spider’s crossover warmly. The Bagheera kiplingi must dodge the aggressive ants on a daily basis and it has even taken to more aggressive tactics by stealing the leaves right from on top of the laboring ants.
While the spider is mainly herbivorous, a 500 million-year-old trait is hard to kick and so the spider has been caught feeding on the larvae of the ants, perhaps escalating tensions even more between these feuding neighbors. The good news is that discrimination from other spiders has not been documented.