Do spiders eat fleas?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “do spiders eat fleas?”.we will also talk about what spiders feed on.

Do spiders eat fleas?

Yes, spiders do feed on fleas. Spiders are one of the predators of fleas that trap the fleas in their web and eat them. Spiders are carnivorous and they eat fleas by either trapping them in their webs or by hunting them down.

They cannot eat the fleas as they are, so they wrap them up,  inject the fleas with digestive fluids and suck out the liquified remains.

What are spiders?

Spiders are air-breathing arthropods that have 8 legs, chelicerae with fangs generally able to inject venom, and spinnerets that extrude silk. Spiders are found all over the world except Antarctica. There are 49,623 known species of spiders in 129 families.

Unlike other insects, spiders do not have antennae. They have the most centralised nervous system of all arthropods, as all their ganglia are fused into one mass in the cephalothorax.

All spiders are predatory in nature and mostly prey on insects and on other spiders, although a few large species also prey on birds and lizards.

What are fleas?

Fleas are mainly parasitic in nature and live off by consuming the blood of mammals and birds. There are 2500 species of fleas which are small flightless insects that survive as external parasites. The fleas lack wings but have strong claws which help them by preventing them from being dislodged.

Their mouthparts are adapted for piercing skin and sucking blood and the hind legs are adapted for jumping. They are 1.5 to 3.3 mm long, are agile, and are usually dark-colored.

Fleas specialise in one host species or a group of species, but can often feed but not reproduce on other species. Fleas are found in warm-blooded vertebrates including dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, ferrets, rats, mice, birds, and occasionally humans.

What does a spider eat?

Spiders would potentially eat anything that gets trapped in their web. They eat anything to everything that flies or crawls including ants, bees, mosquitoes, cockroaches, centipedes, aphids, flies, fleas, and beetles. 

The spiders are excellent predators as they would not just wait for the insects to get trapped in their web, they would go around finding and hunting their prey if needed. 

Some spiders which are large and big can even devour some small vertebrates such as frogs and bats. 

Some species of spiders can prey on other spiders too if there is a scarcity of food around them. In the case of female spiders which are larger in size than their male counterparts, they kill and eat the male spiders after copulation.

What eats fleas other than spiders?

There are a number of predators of fleas other than spiders who feed on them.

Ants

Fire ants and army ants can feed on fleas. They hunt in large groups and can feed on fleas at any stage of their life i.e. eggs, larvae, pupal or adult fleas.

Beetles

Beetles are known to feed on fleas. Even though all species of beetles do not feed on fleas, ladybugs are types of beetles that do feed on fleas. Ladybugs are a major predator of fleas.

Nematodes

Nematodes or roundworms are rather smaller than the fleas but they enter the flea’s body through pores and body openings and kill them. They kill the fleas by releasing a certain type of bacteria which kills the host.

Lizards

Lizards are one of the predators of fleas. They are small insectivorous reptiles that feed on fleas.

Small birds

Small birds like robins, starlings, and grackles are some of the notable predators of fleas.

Frogs

Frogs are carnivores and would feed on fleas and other insects like flies, mosquitoes, and moths.

Snakes 

Smaller snakes like the Garter snake which are much smaller and less lethal to humans but are predators to fleas. They feed on fleas, leeches, and slugs.

Do fleas cause harm to humans?

Fleas not only bite and sucks the blood of animals and pets but are also known to bite humans. The flea bites are small, discoloured bumps that are caused due to the fleas feeding on your blood. 

Fleas are known to carry diseases between animals and humans. Fleas are known as vectors and often carry infections through the blood.

The flea bites rarely cause any lasting harm to the human body but can cause mild annoyance and irritation for a short period of time. However, flea bites can be dangerous and harmful because they spread diseases.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query,“Do spiders eat fleas?”. We also talked about what spiders feed on.

I hope you find this blog useful. If you have any questions, please let us know.

References

https://www.earthkind.com/blog/what-do-spiders-eat-the-diet-of-a-common-house-spider/

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