Sociality in spiders - Sozialisation bei Spinnen
Bionomics back to Seibt
Within each species males are smaller and have a shorter life-span than females. Adult sex ratios are about 0.1. Colonies of the social spiders show a markedly patchy distribution. They contain up to several hundred individuals. Colonies are open societies, due to indiscriminate intra- as well as interspecific tolerance. With increasing colony size, competition over food increases and individual expected reproductive output shows a constant allometric decline. New colonies are founded by colony fission and by ballooning individuals. Each generation lives for about one year. Adult females mouth-to-mouth feed early spiderlings, and older spiderlings consume decrepit adult females ("gerontophagy").

Seibt, Uta & Wickler, Wolfgang 1988: Interspecific tolerance in social Stegodyphus spiders (Eresidae, Araneae). Journal of Arachnology 16, 35-39

Seibt, Uta & Wickler, Wolfgang 1988: Bionomics and social structure of 'Family Spiders' of the genus Stegodyphus, with special reference to the African species S.dumicola and S.mimosarum (Araneida, Eresidae). Verhandlungen des naturwissenschaftlichen Vereins Hamburg (NF) 30, 255-303

Seibt, Uta & Wickler, Wolfgang 1987: Gerontophagy versus cannibalism in the social spiders Stegodyphus mimosarum Pavesi and Stegodyphus dumicola Pocock. Animal Behaviour 35, 1903-1905.

Wickler, Wolfgang & Seibt, Uta 1986: Aerial dispersal by ballooning in adult Stegodyphus mimosarum. Naturwissenschaften 73, 628- 629

Additional Literature
Kraus, O. & Kraus, M. 1990: The genus Stegodyphus: systematics, biogeography, and sociality (Areneida, Eresidae). Acta Zoologica Fennica 190, 223-228

Kraus, M. 1988: Cocoon-spinning behavior in the social spider Stegodyphus dumicola (Arachnida, Araneae): Cooperating females as 'helpers'. Verhandlungen des naturwissenschaftlichen Vereins Hamburg (NF) 30, 305-309

Kraus, O.& Kraus, M. 1988: The genus Stegodyphus (Arachnida, Araneae). Sibling species, species groups, and parallel origin of social living. Verhandlungen des naturwissenschaftlichen Vereins Hamburg (NF) 30, 151-254

Ward, Paul I. 1986: Prey availability increases less quickly than nest size in the social spider Stegodyphus mimosarum. Behaviour 97, 213-225

Ward, Paul I. & Enders, Margit M. 1985: Conflict and cooperation in the group feeding of the social spiders Stegodyphus mimosarum. Behaviour 94, 167-182

Wickler, Wolfgang 1973: Über Koloniegründung und soziale Bindung von Stegodyphus mimosarum Pavesi und anderen sozialen Spinnen. Zeitschrift für Tierpsychologie 32, 522-531.