Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Spiders May Go Extinct From Oversharing


Here's something you may not have known about spiders: Some species are social, and they live/work/play with tens of thousands of other spiders in communal webs the size of minibuses.

And some, like the South American Anelosimus eximius, cooperate on web upkeep, prey capture and even child care. The entire neighborhood shares its food supply when the hunting's good, ensuring that no spider goes hungry.

Unless the colony, as over 20 percent of A. eximius colonies do in every generation, suddenly goes extinct.

Entomologists from the University of British Columbia set out to determine why this happens, and it seems that when the conditions are just right — or, rather, just wrong — these colonies share themselves to death. When the webs pull in small numbers of large prey, the spiders don't have enough food per capita. They wind up sharing it so fairly that no one has enough.

Check out the video above to learn more. Assuming that you're not squicked out by spiders.