Sociable widow spiders? Evidence of subsociality in Latrodectus Walckenaer, 1805 (Araneae, Theridiidae)

  title={Sociable widow spiders? Evidence of subsociality in Latrodectus Walckenaer, 1805 (Araneae, Theridiidae)},
  author={Rogerio Bertani and Caroline Sayuri Fukushima and Rosana Martins},
  journal={Journal of Ethology},
A first case of subsociality is reported for the genus Latrodectus. Individuals were found sharing the same web and feeding together. In captivity they showed mutual tolerance and communal feeding. This finding is remarkable for two reasons. First, widow spiders, even compared with other spiders, are famously aggressive and cannibalistic so that social behavior in the genus was unexpected. Second, the genus nests outside the “Anelosimus + lost colulus” clade where all the other social… 

Feeding habits of the brown widow spider "Latrodectus geometricus" (Araneae: Theridiidae) in northern Chile

The results show that in Chile this brown widow Latrodectus geometricus has a polyphagous diet, and point to a positive and significant preference for Elateridae, Curculionidae and Kalotermitidae over other arthropods.

Habitat use by western black widow spiders (Latrodectus hesperus) in coastal British Columbia: evidence of facultative group living

This work investigates the social structure of the western black widow spider over 5 years in a coastal British Columbia habitat, and presents the first comprehensive evidence of facultative group living in the genus Latrodectus Walckenaer, 1805.

The diet of the black widow spider Latrodectus mirabilis (Theridiidae) in two cereal crops of central Argentina

A polyphagous diet of this spider species in wheat and oat fields is reported, with ants being the most important prey item, as found in other Latrodectus spiders around the world.

Estado do conhecimento do gênero latrodectus walckenaer, 1805 (araneae, theridiidae) no Brasil

Great stimulation is suggested in the formation of arachnologists with emphasis in taxonomy and an integration effort of different research groups working in a research networking to solve taxonomic problems of black-widows.

Widow spiders in the New World: a review on Latrodectus Walckenaer, 1805 (Theridiidae) and latrodectism in the Americas

This review addresses widow spiders’ taxonomy; geographical distribution and epidemiology; symptoms and treatments of envenomation (latrodectism); venom collection, experimental studies, proteome and transcriptome; and biotechnological studies on these Latrodectus spp.

Cooperation and conflicts during prey capture in colonies of the colonial spider Parawixia bistriata (Araneae: Araneidae)

The results indicate that prey type is an important factor determining the frequency of interactions during foraging events in colonies of P. bistriata and that large spiders usually obtain success in conflicts.

Maternal care and subsocial behaviour in spiders

  • E. YipL. S. Rayor
  • Biology
    Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
  • 2014
It is argued that spiders offer an opportunity to untangle the ecological causes of parental care, which forms the basis of many other animal societies.

Analysis of cuticular chemical profiles of Latrodectus geometricus (Araneae: Theridiidae) females and juveniles using GC×GC/qMS

Communication in spiders can occur by several mechanisms, such as chemical cues and the cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) play an important role in intraspecific recognition. Several techniques have been

Venom and Social Behavior: The Potential of Using Spiders to Evaluate the Evolution of Sociality under High Risk

It is argued that due to the wide range of both sociality and venom found in spiders, they are poised to be an excellent system for testing questions regarding whether and how venom use relates to the evolution of social behavior and, in return, whether social behavior influences venom use and evolution.




Findings support this prediction and have important implications for comparative studies as they add another independent observation of social behavior: current phylogenetic knowledge implies subsociality evolved independently in each of theridiid genera.

Sexual Selection for Male Sacrifice in the Australian Redback Spider

Results represent empirical evidence for male copulatory suicide as an adaptive behavior in redback spiders and show that cannibalized males copulated longer and fertilized more eggs than those that survived copulation.


Sociality and kleptoparasitism may be phylogenetically related in theridiid spiders; behaviors that facilitated the evolution of sociality could also have facilitated klepsis.

A New Independently Derived Social Spider with Explosive Colony Proliferation and a Female Size Dimorphism 1

A redescription and phylogenetic analysis corroborate the placement of this species in Theridion, indicating that sociality has evolved independently in at least three theridiid genera.

The Stereotyped Behaviour of Sexual Cannibalism in Latrodectus hasselti Thorell (Araneae : Theridiidae), the Australian Redback Spider

It is concluded that male somersaults and female cannibalistic behaviour in L. hasselti are genetically programmed events.


It is shown that in Theridiidae this social system originated eight to nine times independently among 11 to 12 species for a remarkable 18 to 19 origins across spiders, suggesting a conflict between the short-term benefits and long-term costs of inbred sociality.

A revision of the New World eximius lineage of Anelosimus (Araneae, Theridiidae) and a phylogenetic analysis using worldwide exemplars

A revision of the New World ‘eximius lineage’ containing the most intensely studied Anelosimus species, and a phylogenetic study including worldwide exemplars, corroborate previous findings of convergent evolution of permanent sociality in the genus.

The Evolution of Social Behavior in Insects and Arachnids: Causes and consequences of cooperation and permanent-sociality in spiders

ABSTRACT Social behavior that involves cooperation in nest building, prey capture, feeding and brood care has arisen independently several times among spiders. In most cases, this form of cooperative

Morphological phylogeny of cobweb spiders and their relatives (Araneae, Araneoidea, Theridiidae)

The results suggest the monophyletic origin of both kleptoparasitism and araneophagy in the lineage leading to Argyrodinae, negating hypotheses that either arose from the other.