Trophic Strategy

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Females build webs that they use to capture prey. A female sits facing down in her web, awaiting her prey on the central disk. When a small insect flies into the web, she moves toward it, then snaps the radii on either side of the insect. In order to secure the prey, the spider snaps more of the web around the area, then rushes toward the prey in order to determine its exact location and bite it before carrying it back to the central disk where she feeds.

To carry a prey item back to the central disk, the female either climbs back up the web with her food, or swings down a drag line then climbs up to her resting area. If the prey is smaller than the spider, she will just paralyze it, carry it to her spot, and eat it without wrapping it up. If the prey item is larger than the spider, it requires wrapping before being carried to the central disk.

Sometimes several prey insects become caught in the web at the same time, so that the spider must find and paralyze them all. If it is not necessary to carry them away to eat them, the spider may just feed on them where they are, then come back to them as she pleases.

Gasteracanta cancriformis feeds upon the liquified insides of her prey. Deliquified carcasses are discarded from the web and are easily recognized in their mummified state.

Foods eaten: drosophilids, whiteflies, beetles, moths, other small fly species (none appear to have been rejected).

Animal Foods: body fluids; insects; terrestrial non-insect arthropods

Primary Diet: carnivore (Insectivore )

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Source: Animal Diversity Web

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