Observations of Colonies and Responses to Disturbance by the Uloborid Spider Philoponella republicana (Araneae: Uloboridae) at Simla Research Station, Trinidad and Tobago

Jo-Anne Nina Sewlal


Social behaviour is uncommon in spiders. Out of the documented 44,540 spider species (Platnick 2014), only a few dozen exhibit sociality (Avilés 1997).  Such socialty varies from forming aggregations of individual webs to cooperative brood care.  According to Avilés (1997), social behaviour in spiders can be placed in four categories: 1) non-territorial permanent-social (quasi social), 2) territorial permanent-social, 3) non-territorial periodic-social (sub-social), and 4) territorial periodic-social.

Increased foraging efficiency is one of the reasons cited most frequently as an advantage of social behaviour in spiders (Binford and Rypstra 1992); therefore, for web-building spiders this is dependent upon the location and condition of their webs. Thus, by continual disturbance of the colony (webbing), one can observe how the colony adapts to either increasing or maintaining their foraging efficiency. This short communication describes the physical structure and colony composition of nine colonies of Philoponella republicana (Araneae: Uloboridae), a territorial permanent-social species, in the secondary forest bordering the property of the Simla Research Station in the Arima Valley, Trinidad, W.I.

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