Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Big brothers and sisters pay off for nature's social spiders

Date:
May 29, 2013
Source:
Cornell University
Summary:
The behavior of social spiders may settle debates over the benefits of older siblings. Researchers studying Australian social huntsman spiders discovered that younger siblings thrive when raised in nests with older siblings. Bigger brothers and sisters capture bigger, juicier prey, which they share with their younger siblings.

The behavior of social spiders may settle debates over the benefits of older siblings. Cornell University researchers studying Australian social huntsman spiders discovered that younger siblings thrive when raised in nests with older siblings. Bigger brothers and sisters capture bigger, juicier prey, which they share with their younger siblings.

The researchers found that younger siblings weighed substantially more when they shared the prey of their elder brethren. Since smaller spiders eat relatively little, there is little to no cost to the older siblings. The study, published online in the journal Animal Behavior, describes how prey sharing can directly benefit spiders living as a group. Australian social huntsman spiders (Delena cancerides) are fairly common throughout the southern half of Australia, living as family groups with a single mother and multiple clutches of her offspring in retreats under the loose bark of dead trees.

"One of the most unusual things about Delena colonies is that there are siblings of a huge range of ages and sizes, in the colonies together at the same time," said Linda Rayor, a Cornell entomologist and co-author of the study. "It's common to have tiny spiderlings mingling with older siblings that are almost a year old. So what is totally cool about Delena is that mix of siblings of different ages and how they interact around prey brought into their retreat." Rayor describes such social sharing in a Cornell video.

"If you are small, the number of things you can capture may be quite limited," said Eric Yip, the paper's lead author who conducted the research while a graduate student in Rayor's lab.

"The concessions that an essentially solitary hunter like a spider makes in order to live in groups I think is really interesting," Rayor said. "What we're seeing is these huntsman spiders, by living in groups, end up having many benefits in many ways."

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, Australian-American Fulbright Commission and the President's Council of Cornell Women.

Video: video/preying-together-older-siblings-aid-younger-social-spiders" href="http://www.cornell.edu/video/preying-together-older-siblings-aid-younger-social-spiders">www.cornell.edu/video/preying-together-older-siblings-aid-younger-social-spiders


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cornell University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Eric C. Yip, Linda S. Rayor. The influence of siblings on body condition in a social spider: is prey sharing cooperation or competition? Animal Behaviour, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.03.016

Cite This Page:

Cornell University. "Big brothers and sisters pay off for nature's social spiders." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130529133235.htm>.
Cornell University. (2013, May 29). Big brothers and sisters pay off for nature's social spiders. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130529133235.htm
Cornell University. "Big brothers and sisters pay off for nature's social spiders." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130529133235.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins