Maternal behaviour of a webspinner (Order Embiidina): mother–nymph associations

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John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


1. The life cycle of Antipaluria urichi (Saussure) (Embiidina: Clothodidae) was aseasonal and without overlap of generations within fifteen closely monitored colonies observed over a 9½ month field season. Adult females remained with their nymphs after hatch but disappeared prior to maturation of their offspring. 2. Time budgets of nymphs and their mothers differed significantly. Adult females spent significantly more time spinning silk than their offspring. After the nymphs hatched, the increase in area of the silk covering approximated an exponential curve, reflecting the increase in silk spinning behaviour exhibited by the adult female. These results indicate that silk may be a major contribution of the mother. 3. Observations suggest that silk protects embiids from some predators and from rainfall, which is often torrential in the rainforest. 4. In experimental field colonies, nymphs with their mothers developed significantly faster than those alone, indicating that maternal behaviours promote the development of their nymphs.