, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 219-229

Experimental manipulations of social tendencies in the subsocial spiderCoelotes terrestris

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Summary

In the subsocial terricolous spiderCoelotes terrestris, the young usually leave the maternal tube and disperse after a 4–6-week gregarious period. In the present experiment they were artificially prevented from dispersing, while being liberally provided with prey. Under such conditions they appeared to maintain a certain level of organization: reproduction, structured silken production, and stabilized mortality. This last characteristic was shown, using specifically designed tests, to be due to a higher tolerance level in group-maintained as compared to freely dispersed, adult spiders. The influence of social situations on tolerance tendencies was further assessed (together with the determining influence of the mother) by prematurely separating spiderlings from their brood. Such phenomena may be considered evidence of preadaptations to permanent social life in this subsocial species.