A Social Spider With an Army of 50,000

November 14, 2016 | Posted In: Miscellaneous

Most spiders are solitary creatures, preferring to go the lone wolf route than team up with other spiders. However, there is one species of spider called Anelosimus eximius that lives in the Peruvian Amazon jungle that is a social arachnid. For some reason these spiders decided to team up and create a spider society, in which all members play an important role in making sure the society functions adequately and thrives. These spiders function like other social insects such as ants or bees, a very rare sight indeed when it comes to spiders.

These spiders’ webs are enormous, spanning up to 25 feet and housing as many as 50,000 individual spiders. These communal spiders work together building and maintaining their giant web, they capture prey together, and even dine together just like on big happy family. Just like mother birds the females feed their young by regurgitating food into their mouths. And they do this for all of the young spiders, not just their own. The females work together to take care of all of their young, participating in a kind of spider day care. One thing to note is that the majority of the spiders in these social groups are female, making up at least 80 percent of the society. I think this is yet more proof that clearly the world would be a better place if women were in charge.

Do you know of any other social spider species? What do you think caused these spiders to form a society?