(Photo: Reuters/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
Bat-eating spiders are almost everywhere, according to a new study, with the only place they seemingly do not settle being Antarctica.
Researchers are claiming that these special type of spiders, which can pounce on bats and devour them, do so in just about all parts of the world, according to Live Science.
Reports suggest that about 90 percent of known bat-catching spiders live in the warmer areas of the globe, around the equator, inbetween the tropics of cancer and capricorn. Researchers suggest that about 40 percent live in the neotropics, which is the whole of South America, and the tropical regions of North America. Another third live in Asia and about one-sixth live in Australia and Papua New Guinea, Live Science has reported.
Although these bat-eating spiders have a variety of ways of getting hold of bats to feast on, 88 percent of bat catches are thought to be due to web building. In particular, giant tropical orb-weaving spiders, which have a leg-span of 10 to 15 centimeters, are known to spin orb-webs up to 1.5 meters wide.
These spiders spin these giant webs near buildings inhabited by bat colonies, and have been known to be hugely successful at bat catching in places such as Costa Rica and Panama.
About 12 percent of spiders that catch bats do so without the aid of webs. Tarantulas have been known to be seen eating small bats in tropical rainforests in Peru and eastern Ecuador and on the forest floor in northeastern Brazil.
A majority of bats caught by spiders though are small or juvenile insect-eating bats. Typically the bats found caught in spider webs are about 10 to 24 centimeters in wingspan. Once caught they sometimes die of exhaustion trying to free themselves, or starvation, dehydration or even over-heating. However, the bat-eating spiders have also been known to actively attack and kill the bats while they are still alive and fighting.
Here is a video documentary of a bat-eating spider consuming a bat: