Agelenids of the World

Systematics and Taxonomy of Agelenidae, a Worldwide distributed Spider Family

Mother-offspring food transfer in Coelotes terrestris (Araneae, Agelenidae)

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1991
Authors:J. L. Gundermann, Horel, A., Roland, C.
Journal:Journal of Arachnology
Date Published:1991
ISBN Number:0161-8202
Keywords:[Egg laying / / ] [Parental care / / Food transfer to offspring, & apart, among young, and development, Biometrics, Coelotes terrestris (Araneae)., Coelotes terrestris [Weight / / Changes in mother & young kept together, Development, Ecology, evidence for food transfer] [Feeding behaviour / / Cannibalism, evidence from weight changes & observations] [Growth / / Young kept, influence of maternal presence & food supply] [Egg / /, Life cycle, Nutrition, observations & first report for Araneae], Population dynamics, Reproduction, Reproductive behaviour, Trophic eggs for feeding young, with & apart from mother] [Survival / / ].

Three different modes of maternal food supply have been reported in the subsocial agelenid species Coelotes terrestris: prey provisioning, consumption of the mother's body, and regurgitation of nutritive fluids. Although the first two modes are well documented, the latter is not fully assessed. By comparing-in the absence of any prey-the weight variations in spiderlings either left with their mothers or isolated, and by simultaneously comparing the weight variations of mothers, either isolated or left within the group of spiderlings, it was possible to see evidence of a significant and long-lasting food transfer from the mother to her progeny. This food transfer probably explains the high level of survivorship and reduction of cannibalism showed by broods left with their mothers. Close observation provided no direct evidence of mouth to mouth transfer. Rather, the food transfer appears to involve the production and emission of miniature eggs by the mother when in presence of spiderlings, a phenomenon which to date seems not to have been noted among spiders.

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