Net-Casting Spider Filmed Hunting in the Wild

This spider has a unique approach to nabbing its prey.

max-millerby max-miller

The film crew behind the upcoming BBC special, “The Dark: Nature’s Nighttime World,” believe they have the very first slow-motion footage (not found in the video above) of the incredible net-casting spider in action in the wild.

The net-casting spider gets its name from its method of hunting for prey. Using its gigantic eyes, which help it see in the dark, the net-casting spider builds an entire booby trap for its unsuspecting prey.

First, the spider builds a small scaffold over a place where its prey will be sure to pass. It then builds its net using a different type of silk, which it stretches over the scaffold. The net-casting spider then waits patiently for its prey to get close enough, not making its move until the prey touches a piece of the thread. This works much like a trip wire, and the minute the spider feels its prey through the vibrations, it collapses upon its victim, immediately causing the fully stretched net to shrink to a small size, trapping the prey.

“As soon as it touched it, [the spider] was on it in a thousandth of a second,” said Dr. George McGavin, one of the men on the crew. “If we hadn’t had that camera, you wouldn’t have seen a thing.”