Journal of Ethology

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 299–302 | Cite as

Sociable widow spiders? Evidence of subsociality in Latrodectus Walckenaer, 1805 (Araneae, Theridiidae)

  • Rogério BertaniEmail author
  • Caroline Sayuri Fukushima
  • Rosana Martins
Short Communication


A first case of subsociality is reported for the genus Latrodectus. Individuals were found sharing the same web and feeding together. In captivity they showed mutual tolerance and communal feeding. This finding is remarkable for two reasons. First, widow spiders, even compared with other spiders, are famously aggressive and cannibalistic so that social behavior in the genus was unexpected. Second, the genus nests outside the “Anelosimus + lost colulus” clade where all the other social theridiids are found.


Brazil Latrodectus cf. curacaviensis Neotropics Social behavior 



We are grateful to Ingi Agnarsson for his comments on the manuscript, Kátia de Mendonça Faria and Maurício Pavani for helping with the field work, and Ibama and Parque Nacional da Serra do Cipó for providing permits and support for field work. Financial support—FAPESP for RB and CAPES and FAPESP for CSF.


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Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rogério Bertani
    • 1
    Email author
  • Caroline Sayuri Fukushima
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rosana Martins
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto ButantanSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Departamento de Zoologia, Instituto de BiociênciasUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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