Abstract and Summary

Wild colonies of the social spider Anelosimus eximius (Araneae, Theridiidae) appear often to be food-limited and not all females come to reproduction. Using a limited number of marked females in an artificial colony, set up in the laboratory, this study attempts a first analysis of the participation in prey capture and ingestion. Marked females of the same age and experience were observed during the attack of prey insects, the ensuing transportation of the prey to the retreat, and the feeding session. No correlation was found between the time females spent hunting and the time they spent feeding. Females that laid eggs had fed longer and imbibed more nutrients, but had not hunted more than those females that did not reproduce. These, it is speculated, were denied access to the prey by the reproducing females.