Social behaviour in a web-building lynx spider, Tapinillus sp. (Araneae: Oxyopidae)



    1. Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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    • *Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, U.S.A.


Social behaviour involving cooperative prey capture and communal feeding is reported for the first time in the spider family Oxyopidae (lynx spiders), in a web-building species of the genus Tapinillus. This social spider inhabits communal webs that may contain several dozen individuals, including adults of both sexes and juveniles of different cohorts. Its colonies occur in clusters and appear to be long-lived, much like those of non-territorial permanently social species such as Anelosimus eximius (Theridiidae) or Agelena consociata (Agelenidae). However, unlike colonies of these other cooperative spiders, the colonies of the social Tapinillus do not have highly female-biased sex ratios. The possible explanations for this difference are discussed.