Desert spi­ders make the ul­ti­mate sac­ri­fice

World of Animals - - Animal Kindness -

Many moth­ers are de­voted to the care of their off­spring, but the fe­male desert spi­der re­ally gives her all. As her eggs de­velop, her ab­dom­i­nal tis­sue be­gins to break down, so by the time the spi­der­lings hatch she’s got a sup­ply of nu­tri­tious liq­uid in her gut ready to re­gur­gi­tate for their first slushy meal.

After two weeks, re­gur­gi­tated meals cease to sat­isfy the young spi­ders. They at­tack their mother, pierce her ab­domen and suck out ev­ery­thing left in­side. This sac­ri­fice seems ex­treme, but it al­lows the fe­male to give her off­spring the best pos­si­ble start to life in a chal­leng­ing and arid habi­tat.

“The young spi­ders pierce her ab­domen and suck out ev­ery­thing in­side”

The con­sump­tion of a mother by her young is known as ma­t­riphagy, and it has been recorded in some scor­pion species and other arach­nids

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