Spiders' Personalities: Distinct Traits Lead To Different Behaviors And Jobs, Study Finds

By iScienceTimes Staff on July 31, 2013 5:06 PM EDT

spider
Spiders' personalities are more varied than previously thought, a new study finds. (Photo: Reuters)

Spiders' personalities and lifestyles are varied just like humans and other species, a new study suggests.

While scientists (and pet owners) have long known that animals like cats and dogs have individual personalities, less is known about smaller organisms' personalities.

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Researchers found that different spiders have their own ways of attacking prey. Some might be aggressive and pounce, while others sit back and wait for the right moment.

"The main personality measure that we used in our study was termed 'boldness' and was measured on a continuous scale, meaning that individuals could be found at any point of the scale from very shy to very bold," lead author Lena Grinsted of Aarhus University in Denmark told Discovery News.

The researchers in the spiders' personalities study looked at the Stegodyphus sarasinorum spider in India. They chose that spider to study because Stegodyphus sarasinorum lives in colonies, which is somewhat unusual for spiders. Because of the spider living in colonies, the researches thought they would be more social and would thus be more likely to have differing personalities.

The researchers in the spiders' personalities study captured several spiders nests in the wild dissected them. They chose 40 spiders to study, and painted each spider with a colored dot which both served to identify them and to mark their level of aggressiveness. The researchers then simulated insects being capture in spider webs, and measured the spiders' reactions.

The researchers noticed that the spiders initially marked as aggressive were similarly aggressive during this simulated insect-in-spider-web part of the experiment. Those aggressive spiders had the "job" of attacking prey, the researchers found, while less aggressive spiders had jobs like nurturing offspring.

The spiders' personalities study was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

READ MORE:

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