T.J. - Principle Investigator,
Captain of the research vessel

Thomas C. Jones
Behavioral Ecology, Neuroethology, Science Education

Meet the beast...Natural history of A. studiosus

            Anelosimus studiosus is a relatively small (about 8 mm long) spider found in the eastern U.S. from south FL to New England, but also ranges into South America.  This species was described as subsocial in that, juveniles and adult males are tolerated in an adult female’s web, but other adult females usually are not.  However, in its northern range, colonies of tens to hundreds of adult females are found among a majority of single-female colonies .  Individuals from multiple-female colonies are generally more tolerant of conspecifics and evidence suggests that tolerance level is heritable.  Tolerance is also associated with a syndrome of reduced aggression behavior .  Previous experiments have demonstrated that, under controlled laboratory conditions, colony prey increased with the age and number of juveniles in the colony (though resources per individual decline with colony size), and variation in prey mass decreased with the number of juveniles present.  It has also been shown that in semi-natural conditions, delayed juvenile dispersal benefits juvenile survivorship and development as well as the mother’s ability to produce future broods.  This spider is typically found in marginal habitat building its webs on the lower branch tips of trees and shrubs.  It is common along the edges of rivers, canals and lakes, which effectively creating a linear population.

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