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Vegetarian spider

Small jumping species steals lunch from ants.

6:20pm, August 11, 2009

A little eight-legged pickpocket that darts around acacia trees could be the first known vegetarian spider.

Bagheera kiplingi belongs among the big-eyed, athletic predators in the family of jumping spiders and gets its name from a panther in a Rudyard Kipling story. Yet a population of these spiders in Mexico mostly eats bits of the acacia trees, says Christopher Meehan of VillanovaUniversity in Pennsylvania.

A few other spider species do taste vegetable matter now and then, says Yael Lubin of Ben-GurionUniversity in Sede Boqer, Israel. Male crab spiders that spend their brief

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