Before we start, let’s make it perfectly clear that no spider that we’re aware of has declared their intention to do this, or that it is a reasonable target to aim for. No, this is a side maths project for biologists Martin Nyffeler and Klaus Birkhofer, who decided to take a spare moment or two to try to calculate just how much biomass the world’s spider population can actually put away, and what this would mean in human terms. They published their educated estimates in the journal The Science of Nature and explained that their maths was based on an assumption of a staggering 400-800 million tons of prey being devoured by the world spider population every year.
By comparison, we humans have to make do with eating a meager 400 million tons of meat and fish, annually. Even allowing for all the vegetarians, considering how big the animals we eat actually are compared to the small insects spiders will generally make do with, it does instead make us look like we’re not trying.
And then that brings us to how much biomass we humans represent in the world. Of course, everyone knows we’re outnumbered by tiny invertebrates, not just in numbers but also by sheer tonnage. But it turns out we only add up to 287 million tons of biomass, little enough that spiders could eat every last one of us in a year and still be left feeling hungry. That’s partly because we are so insanely outnumbered. While there are north of 7 billion humans on the planet, Earth’s spider population measures in the quadrillions, meaning we are outnumbered by a ratio of 2.8 million to 1. With each human having to be shared equally among nearly 3 million spiders, no wonder there wouldn’t be enough of us to go round, according to Nyffeler and Birkhofer’s estimates…..[ ]