Spider acquires taste for green leaves

Posted by our bug correspondent

A spider that eats the tips of acacia plants rather than biting insects in its jaw and sucking them to death is probably the first predominantly vegetarian arachnid.

The arachnid, bagheera kiplingi, is found in Mexico and Central America and was described in scientific journal Current Biology.

The tips of the leaves contain protein but it's not all plain sailing for the spider because ants guard the acacia trees from predators.

To get to eat, the spider has to avoid the ants by checking for gaps and then scurrying through and grabbing dinner.

Even though the spider has a largely vegetarian diet, it returns to rather more normal spider ways by eating ant grubs when it fancies a quick meaty snack.