Don’t Cry For Me, Arthropoda: Studies Find Signs of Emotion in Spiders
Individual spiders have character and personality, according to a paper published by theProceedings of the Royal Society B. The paper, titled Individual personalities shape task differentiation in a social spider, gives details of a study into role allocation in spider societies.
It was previously assumed that individuals in social spider communities contributed homogenously, with all tasks, such as prey capture and colony defence, being performed equally by members.
The study focused on Stegodyphus sarasinorum, a permanently social spider occurring in India and some surrounding countries. Led by Lena Grinsted of Aarhus University in Denmark, over 600 spiders were marked and observed, with tests singling out boldness and aggression. Variances in response showed that individuals were suited to particular roles.
Individuals in the test group were highly related and of approximately the same age: the only variable was apparently their personality. The study suggests that task allocation is the result of character traits in individual spiders; personality does not appear to be shaped by random selection of task perfomance, therefore.
Character and personality are often attributed only to humans, higher order mammals, and birds. Now it appears that arthropods also have responses that could be considered emotional.
Photo: Stegodyphus sarasinorum spiders, marked for identification
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