The tarantulas are a large group of hairy spiders in the family of Theraphosidae. There are around more than 1000 species that are identified and have been kept as exotic pets by few people around the world.
Since we all are aware of associating webs with the species of spider, tarantulas make a hammock-like structure which is more like cobwebs that most of the house spiders produce. They do make webbing-like structures but not like the ones which the spiders make. The spiders are famous for catching their prey with the help of the webs designed by them
The web that is made by the tarantula cannot be surely called a web. The web-like structures of the tarantula don’t hold their prey. The web acts more as a sensor array than a trap for its prey.
The web isn’t sticky. The biologist does not prefer it to be called a web because it nowhere looks like a web that is designed to catch its prey. The web formed by tarantulas has a silk-like texture and is superbly fashioned most of the time. The web-like structures formed by the tarantulas are practically invisible! It is highly camouflaged in nature and is often very fascinating to watch one while it’s prepared.
Why do they make web-like structures if they do not prey on them?
The silk-like structures are used as a shelter rather than a trap for their prey. Tarantulas use silk as a tool to cover the inside of their dwelling with the help of silk that prevents other insects from invading their nests.
How are the silk-like structures formed?
Scientists are always fascinated by the whole concept of the production of silk-like structures by tarantulas. The recent findings show that they originated from their feet and not from the spinnerets.
The spinnerets are found in the feet of the tarantula which is still considered a topic of discussion. The whole community of scientists has a different theory about it and is divided into a group of two.
How do tarantulas catch their prey?
Most of the tarantulas eat insects while some even go for larger species like frogs, mice, and lizards of small sizes. The tarantulas are burrowers and so do not use their webs to catch their prey. If the tarantula does not burrow it just spins a burrow out of silk and will live under a rock.
According to a recent study done on tarantulas, when prey comes too close to them, they surround it from all sides and ambush it then and there. The prey is seized by them with the help of their legs and is paralyzed by the venom they secrete and is eventually killed by the fangs. The tarantulas are also seen to crush their prey with their strong jaws. They are seen to be hunting like cats!
The tarantulas then inject the prey with its digestive enzyme which liquefies the body and it is then sucked up through their straw-like mouth.