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Maternal State Induction in Female Spiders By the Young

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Females of the spider species Coelotes terrestris must successively attend their egg sacs, then their young, in the course of their reproductive cycles. The various activities have been shown to depend on defined reproductive states. The purpose of the present work is to clarify whether maternal responses can be experimentally induced outside normal periods. Females, which spontaneously do not attend spiderlings, were either kept with groups of spiderlings for one week, or kept in isolation for the same duration. Females exposed to spiderlings adopted the behaviour of provisioning to the young and were more tolerant towards them, while no behavioural changes were noticed in isolated females. This phenomenon is consistent with the relative behavioural flexibility exhibited by this spider species.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire de Biologie et Physiologie du Comportement, URA C.N.R.S. 1293, Université Henri Poincaré Nancy I, B.P. 239, 54506 Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy Cedex-France

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