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Several Foreign Media Platforms Such as CNN Reported Research Results of Innovation Team of CNU under the Direction of the Ministry of Education2021-11-02

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  Recently, the insect evolution and environmental change innovation team of CNU under the direction of the Ministry of Education published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, a famous international journal on biology, a research on the rearing behavior of cretaceous spiders. The research was widely reported by many famous media platforms, including CNN, New Scientist, Live Science and USA TODAY.

  The research team found a female spider and an egg capsule preserved together in Burmese amber, dating back about 100 million years, which provides evidence about the rearing behavior of female spiders in the Cretaceous. By stereoscopic microscope and microscopic CT, researchers identified the female spider as a Lagonomegopidae species and found lots of young spiders and their egg membranes in an egg capsule made of loose threads. These fully-formed young spiders showed that the female spider did not leave after laying eggs, but stayed close to them. This suggests that, at least in the Cretaceous, lizard spiders built egg capsules and protected their eggs.

  In addition, researchers checked 3 other pieces of amber containing lots of young lizard spiders. They found spider threads that formed a female spider nest and foot stumps suspected to be those of a mature lizard spider. This means that young lizard spiders may not leave immediately after hatching out of egg capsules, but instead live with female spiders for some time.

  This research documents fossil evidence of the rearing of female spiders and helps us understand the early evolution of the rearing behavior in spiders. Fossil specimens preserve moments of biological evolution over the long geological history. Evidence from these fossils can reconstruct an actual evolutionary process.

  Guo Xiangbo, PhD student from the College of Life Sciences, is the first author of this paper, and Professor Ren Dong and Professor Paul Selden from the University of Kansas are co-authors. This research won the funding of the National Natural Science Foundation of China.