Arachnophobes: reconsider your fear by getting acquainted with Bagheera kiplingi, the world’s only veggie spider. Meet this interesting critter after the jump!
The tiny Bagheera kiplingi is only the size of a pinky nail, but this jumping spider native to Central America has made big waves. Researchers are saying that the discovery of this creature is “on par with flying pigs for novelty.” Its favorite foods are not the usual fare of its arachnid kin; instead, B. kiplingi prefers to dine on the leaf tips of acacia shrubs. Interestingly, it actually “hunts” for leaves:
Essentially, the spider employs hunting strategies to get past guard ants that keep the acacias safe from other herbivores. In return, the ants get a comfy place to live — the plant’s hollow spines — and food in the form of acacia nectar and the shrub’s leaf-tips.
Be sure to read Live Science’s article on this fascinating animal!