Sociality in spiders - Sozialisation bei Spinnen
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We analyzed the ultimate and proximate factors for sociogenesis in the two African social Stegodyphus species. An ultimate benefit by profitable hunting may apply to group sizes up to 30 individuals. Larger groups benefit from the shelter against predators provided by the central nest as a heritable resource. Proximate factors are neotenic mutual tolerance of juvenile spiders, with overlapping pedomorphic sexual maturity. This evolutionary pathway towards sociality is called the "sibling-route".

Johannesen,J.; Moritz,R.F.A.; Simunek,H.; Seibt,U.; Wickler,W. (2009): Species cohesion despite extreme inbreeding in a social spider. Evol. Biol. 22, 1137-1142

Johannesen,J.; Wickler,W.; Seibt,U. & Moritz,R.F.A.(2009): Population history in social spiders repeated: colony structure and lieage evolution in Stegodyphus mimosarum (Eresidae). Molecular Ecology (2009)2812-2818

Wickler, Wolfgang & Seibt, Uta 1993: Pedogenetic sociogenesis via the "sibling-route" and some consequences for Stegodyphus spiders. Ethology 95, 1-18

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

Seibt, Uta & Wickler, Wolfgang 1988: Why do "family spiders", Stegodyphus (Eresidae), live in colonies? Journal of Arachnology 16, 193-198

Wickler, Wolfgang & Seibt, Uta 1988: Two species of Stegodyphus spiders as solitary parasites in social S.dumicola colonies (Araneida, Eresidae). Verhandlungen des naturwissenschaftlichen Vereins Hamburg (NF) 30, 311-317

Additional Literature
Schneider, Jutta 1995: Survival and growth in groups of a subsocial spider (Stegodyphus lineatus). Insectes Sociaux 42, 237-248

Schneider, Jutta 1992: Die Wurzeln des Soziallebens bei der subsozialen Spinne Stegodyphus lineatus (Eresidae). Diss.Biol., Ludwig-Maximilian Univ., München.