The Sneaky Vegetarian Spider!

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Most spiders spend their days spinning webs to snare unsuspecting insects - Not the Bagheera Kiplingi - this species spends its days conniving to steal leaves.

That's because the thumbnail-size spider is a vegetarian - the only known species to adopt this unique lifestyle, from the 40,000 species of spiders known to humans.

The Bagheera Kiplingi spends its life lazing on Acacia trees, which have always had a special relationship with ants. The tree 'allows' ants to live in its hollow spines and feed off the nectar and specialized leaf tips known as Beltian bodies. In return, ants protect the leaves from predators.The Bagheera Kiplingi which also thrives on the leaf tips, sneakily steals them from right under the ants noses.

It appears that being vegetarian and not having the pressure of weaving webs has resulted in making these spiders mellower than their fellow mates. For one, the females don't eat up their male counterparts. Instead, they build little nests where both male and female nurture their young ones - something that is unheard of in the spiders.

The Bagheera Kiplingi, named after Jungle Book's crafty panther, belongs to the family of jumping spiders, and is native to Mexico, Costa Rica and Guatemala. The spiders are very colorful, with both the male and females sporting different looks. The female spider has amber front legs and yellow back legs, with a large light brown abdomen, that is embellished with greenish markings. The male has amber legs and a reddish abdomen with green markings.

sources:feature.csmonitor.com, dailymail.co.uk

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