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Following the insect meltdown, numbers of orb web spiders have drastically declined


The abundance of large orb web spiders in the Swiss midland has declined drastically over the last 40 years. The main reason for this is the shrinking food supply available to these insectivorous animals. This is demonstrated in a study conducted by researchers from the University of Basel and Ghent University (Belgium), as reported in the scientific journal Insects.

The approximately 48,400 known spider species around the world are among the most important insectivorous animals on earth. One group of these, the orb web spiders, spin conspicuous wheel-shaped webs. The perhaps best known and so far very common orb web spider species in Europe is the European garden spider Araneus diadematus. Apart from house gardens, their preferred habitats include parks, graveyards, hedgerows, forest edges and clearings. MORE

Header image: European garden spider Araneus diadematus – adult female. Credit: Rainer Altenkamp.

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