Updated: June 5, 2023

Spiders are fascinating creatures that belong to the arachnid family. They are known for their eight legs and their ability to spin webs. Despite their creepy appearance, spiders play an essential role in the ecosystem as they prey on other insects and pests.

But what exactly do spiders eat? In this article, we will explore the diet of spiders and how they hunt for their prey.

Types of Spiders

There are over 45,000 known species of spiders around the world, and each one has a slightly different diet. Some spiders are carnivorous, while others are omnivorous or herbivorous. Additionally, some spiders hunt actively, while others sit and wait for their prey to come to them.

Carnivorous Spiders

Carnivorous spiders feed primarily on other insects and small animals. Some of the most common prey for carnivorous spiders include flies, mosquitoes, beetles, and moths. Larger spiders may also feed on small vertebrates such as lizards or mice.

One example of a carnivorous spider is the black widow spider. Black widows are known for their venomous bite, which they use to subdue their prey. They primarily feed on flies, mosquitoes, and other small insects.

Web-Building Spiders

Many species of spiders build webs to catch their prey. These spiders typically have a diet that consists of flying insects such as flies, moths, and butterflies. The spider’s web acts as a trap, capturing insects that fly into it.

One example of a web-building spider is the orb-weaver spider. This spider builds a spiral web that is highly effective at catching flying insects. Once an insect becomes trapped in the web, the orb-weaver spider quickly wraps it in silk and injects it with venom before consuming it.

Hunting Spiders

Hunting spiders are active predators that actively seek out their prey. These spiders typically have a diverse diet that includes other insects, spiders, and even small animals.

One example of a hunting spider is the wolf spider. This spider actively hunts for its prey on the ground, using its excellent vision and speed to catch insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, and beetles.

Feeding Habits

Spiders have unique feeding habits that vary depending on their species and diet. Some spiders feed on their prey immediately after catching it, while others store their prey for later consumption.

Many spiders use digestive enzymes to break down their food before consuming it. These enzymes liquefy the prey’s tissues, making it easier for the spider to consume.


In conclusion, spiders are fascinating creatures with a diverse range of diets. Whether they are carnivorous or omnivorous, web-building or hunting, spiders play an essential role in the ecosystem by preying on other insects and pests. So the next time you come across a spider, remember that it may be doing more good than harm by keeping pesky insects at bay.