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Group living and inbreeding depression in a subsocial spider

Summary: Group living and inbreeding depression
in a subsocial spider
Leticia Avile┤s1,3,* and Todd C. Bukowski2
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and 2
Center for Insect Science, University of Arizona,
Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
Social spiders are unusual among social organisms in being highly inbred--males and females mature
within their natal nest and mate with each other to produce successive generations. Several lines of
evidence suggest that in spiders inbred social species originated from outbred subsocial ancestors, a
transition expected to have been hindered by inbreeding depression. As a window into this transition, we
examined the fitness consequences of artificially imposed inbreeding in the naturally outbred subsocial
spider Anelosimus cf. jucundus. Subsocial spiders alternate periods of solitary and social living and are
thought to resemble the ancestral system from which the inbred social species originated. We found that
inbreeding depression in this subsocial spider only becomes evident in spiders raised individually following
the end of their social phase and that ecological and demographic factors such as eclosion date, number of
siblings in the group and mother's persistence are more powerful determinants of fitness during the social
phase. A potential explanation for this pattern is that maternal care and group living provide a buffer


Source: AvilÚs, Leticia - Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology