Human Journey

High-Speed Spider Ambush Caught on Film

Photo by David G. Fairchild


How do you film a net-casting spider catching its prey?  Strap on your hiking boots, trek out into the the middle of the woods, get your camera ready, wait a long time, and then . . . don’t blink.

A crew for the BBC caught the small-scale, but dramatic, kill on film while making a nature series in Central America.  After setting up, they watched the spider sit unmoving for five hours, but when an unsuspecting cricket finally wandered into the spider’s trip wire, the wait was worth it.  Thanks to the high-speed footage, it’s possible to actually see the spider launch downward and fling his net over his unsuspecting prey.  The whole attack is over in a few thousandths of a second.

Dr. George McGavin, who was on-scene to observe the attack said, “I would compare it to watching a big cat kill.  It’s as exciting as that.”

You can watch the clip here.

For all the latest science news, check out the National Geographic’s twice-weekly news rundown, EarthCurrent.


Alyson Foster works in the National Geographic Library where she purchases books for the Library’s collection and assists NG staff with finding research materials.
  • Iva

    Absolutely amazing

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