Why Do Spiders Live in Colonies?
The majority of spiders are solitary creatures. However, some species of spiders live in colonies. These spiders share communal nests and work together to maintain their food supply and safety. Some species also create elaborate webs to capture prey.
Colonies are long-lived structures, often lasting months to years. They consist of multiple generations of adult females and juvenile males. Most of these spiders are native to tropical regions. Their behavior is also influenced by environmental conditions. For example, when food is scarce, these animals tend to become more isolated.
Spiders are primarily predators of insects. They live in large, communal webs, which allow them to subdue larger insects. While some species are cooperative, other species are aggressive.
A recent study by the University of British Columbia and the University of Arizona explored how different species respond to trapped prey. Researchers compared the number of prey that social spiders capture in a colony with its size. As the webs grew, the amount of food captured per spider was decreased.
Previous work showed that social spiders can capture prey that is several times their body size. However, previous research did not link colony size to the number of insects captured. Moreover, the study found many colonies that were larger than their optimum sizes.
Social spiders have a female-biased sex ratio, which results in a higher number of females than males. This is different from most cooperative breeding taxa. In addition, females may regurgitate food for the colony’s offspring.