Spiders Work More Efficiently with Relatives

HAMBURG, Germany, Oct. 26 (UPI) — German and Danish scientists have discovered spiders are more efficient at foraging for food and cooperate better when they are related to each other.

Professor Jutta Schneider and students Jasmin Ruch and Lisa Heinrich from the University of Hamburg, Germany, and Associate Professor Trine Bilde of Aarhus University in Denmark organized (Stegodyphus tentoriicola) spiders into different groups to collect food. While some groups consisted entirely of siblings, others included only non-siblings.

The scientists said they observed the related spiders were more motivated to share digestive enzymes with other spiders, allowing them to consume their prey more quickly. The spiders that were related also worked more communally when foraging for food, which benefited the entire group.

“Stegodyphus spiders represent one of the few study systems of the evolution of cooperation with convincing empirical evidence for genuine kin discrimination as opposed to nest-mate recognition,” Ruch said.

The study is published in the journal Evolutionary Biology.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Categorized | Animals, Other
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