Ed Yong of “Not Exactly Rocket Science” features Laura’s (Spider Lab) recently published thesis work in an article entitled, “Singaporean spiders spit venomous glue, work together, eat each other” (24 Apr 2009).
“In the forests of Singapore lives a spider that must be an arachnophobe’s worst nightmare. Most species are solitary hunters subdue their prey with venomous fangs, sticky silken webs or a combination of the two. But Scytodes uses a third trick – it spits a sticky, venomous fluid from its fangs that both traps its victims and poisons them (see video of related species). And it does this in packs – after hatching, spiderlings spend their early lives on their home web and they spit at, bite and devour prey en masse.
There are actually about 200 species of spitting spiders belonging to the genus Scytodes, and the specific species I’m talking about here was previously classified as Scytodes pallida. But Laura Yap, a student from the National University of Singapore, believes that it may be a new species entirely. For the moment, she refers to it simply as “Scytodes sp”, and she has provided the first thorough description of its behaviour.”
Read the rest of article….
The paper that the article reviews is Yap, L.-M. Y. L. & D. Li, 2009. Social behaviour of spitting spiders (Araneae: Scytodidae) from Singapore. Journal of Zoology, 278 (1): 74 – 81. [Published Online: 3 Mar 2009; doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2009.00555.x]
Thanks to Ria Tan for the alert!