First spider superdads discovered | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


News

First spider superdads discovered

Males give up solitary life to protect egg sacs, spiderlings — often as single parent

By
9:00am, December 5, 2016
Manogea spider

SPIDER DAD OF THE YEAR  The small Manogea males buck the trend among spiderkind, giving up their solitary ways to stay near their offspring and fight off attackers.

The first normally solitary spider to win Dad of the Year sets up housekeeping in a web above his offspring and often ends up as their sole defender and single parent.

Moms handle most parental care known in spiders, says Rafael Rios Moura at the Federal University of Uberlândia in Brazil. But either or both parents care for egg sacs and spiderlings in the small Manogea porracea species he and colleagues studied in a eucalyptus plantation. The dad builds a dome-shaped web above the mom’s web, and either parent will fight hungry invaders looking for baby-spider lunch. In webs with no parents, only about four spiderlings survived per egg sac. But with dad, mom or both on duty, survival more than doubled, the researchers report in the January 2017 Animal Behaviour.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content