Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Living With Spiders

Spider web

Web of Stegodyphus Social Spiders
Photo: Dr VB Whitehead

African spiders in the genus Stegodyphus are social spiders that build communal webs. The spiders can cover a larger area with their prey and as a group, be more successful than as individuals. The store of captured insects can be an attractive food source for other creatures to exploit. In 1903, Entomologist R.I. Pocock reported caterpillars of the moth, Coccidiphila (formerly, Batrachedra) stegodyphobius crawling along the strands of the web and feeding on the spider’s prey. The caterpillars pupate in the web, a site that provides protection against predators. The moths were observed flitting about the sticky web without becoming entangled. Coccidiphila stegodyphobius has adaptations that keep it from sticking to the web, and exploit the spiders for both food and protection.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in behavior, by jjneal, Caterpillar Blogging, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Friday Cat-erpillar Blogging: Living With Spiders

  1. This is quite interesting on stegodyphobius part, and brilliant from Stegodyphus(Spiders) prospective of catching its prey!!! Thanks for sharing.

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