Journal of Ethology

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 69–74

Adaptive advantages of matriphagy in the foliage spider, Chiracanthium japonicum (Araneae: Clubionidae)

  • Masatoshi Toyama

DOI: 10.1007/s101640170001

Cite this article as:
Toyama, M. J Ethol (2001) 19: 69. doi:10.1007/s101640170001


Young of the Japanese foliage spider, Chiracanthium japonicum, show matriphagy, whereby they consume their own mothers before dispersal. By removing mothers in the laboratory, I examined the importance of this sacrificial habit for offspring survival and dispersal behavior. Spiderlings that cannibalized their mothers gained weight more than threefold and dispersed from their breeding nests after molting into the third instar. The third-instar spiderlings had relatively longer legs than the previous instars and appeared to be more adapted to a solitary hunting life style. On the other hand, most spiderlings separated from their mothers could not molt into the third instar and dispersed significantly earlier than those with matriphagy. Furthermore, the lack of matriphagy decreased the survival rate of predispersal spiderlings. These results showed that matriphagy of C. japonicum has a great advantage in allowing offspring to disperse at a more developed and active instar.

Key words Foliage spiderMatriphagyParental careDevelopmentDispersalSociality

Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masatoshi Toyama
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Applied Zoology, Faculty of Agriculture, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, JapanJP