A new study has attempted to estimate how many millions of tons of insects all the spiders in the world eat per year.
The authors used data from 65 previous studies, and came up with an estimate that there were 25 million tons of spiders in the world. (For context, that's about as much as 300 million average-sized people.) Most of them live in forests and grasslands.
But what's really jaw-dropping is how much they eat. Can you guess? Before you try, it's worth knowing that Peter Smithers, an entomologist at the University of Plymouth, told BuzzFeed News that "the figures in this paper are incredible. Incredible but true." And if it helps you calibrate your thinking, all the humans in the world put together eat about 400 million tons of meat and fish a year.
Between 400 and 800 million tons.
Roughly equivalent to 4 billion actual human people. Every year. Eaten by spiders.
Tom Chivers is a science writer for BuzzFeed and is based in London.
Contact Tom Chivers at email@example.com.
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