A new exhibit at Paignton Zoo in Devon aims to expose an unexpected side to an often misunderstood creature. The zoo has received 40 Indian social spiders from Reaseheath College in Cheshire. There are more than 50,000 species of spider in the world but just a few hundred of these exhibit social behaviours.
Andy Meek, from the zoo’s Lower Vertebrates and Invertebrates team, said: “A lot of people don’t know that there are spiders that live communally. These spiders create colonies that seem to have a complicated social structure, with each spider having a role within that structure, similar to the behaviour you see with ants. These spiders have not been studied very much in zoos, so the more we can learn about their life stages and how they communicate, the better informed we can be.”
Visitors can now see the colony in the Investigate area, exhibiting natural behaviours such as building their web, hunting and clearing rubbish from the web.
Image credit: Yathin S Krishnappa