Spiders, a group of predominantly insectivorous predators, occasionally use plant food to supplement their insect prey. In the current review, we tracked down 95 reported incidents of spiders feeding on plant food under natural conditions. Globally, >60 spider species representing ten families have been observed feeding on plant materials from over 20 plant families. Cursorial spiders including the families Anyphaenidae, Clubionidae, Eutichuridae, Salticidae, Thomisidae, and Trachelidae dominate among the spiders feeding on plant food (>80% of reported incidents). Spiders feed on a wide diversity of plant-derived products including floral nectar, extrafloral nectar, stigmatic exudate, plant sap, honeydew, seeds, Beltian bodies, Müllerian bodies and pollen (originating from very different plant types such as coniferous and deciduous trees, herbaceous plants and shrubs, annual weeds, grasses, climbing plants, orchids, carnivorous plants, and ferns). Furthermore, spiders have been shown to consume fungal spores in laboratory trials. Supplementary feeding on plant materials by spiders was shown to be global in extent and widespread across spider taxa, plant taxa and plant materials; however, the extent to which the different categories of plant food contribute to the spiders’ diet and how this may affect their behavior and life history is still largely unexplored. This review is expected to lay a foundation for future research on this topic.
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Vol. 44 • No. 1