While not usually considered paragons of tender, familial love, some spiders do have a touchy-feely side. Scientists have discovered two arachnids that caress their young and snuggle together.
In a display of familial tenderness, a mother amblypygid sits above with her seven-month-old offspring. The arachnid’s whip-like legs are touching one another.
“This was the best example I had ever seen of friendly behavior in an arachnid,” said lead study author Linda Rayor, a Cornell University entomologist. “I was amazed at how incredibly interactive the groups are. They are in constant tactile contact with one another. They are constantly exploring one another and interacting with their siblings."
Observed in glass houses, the two arachnid families were often seen engaging in sibling-sibling and mother-baby interactions. In one experiment, the siblings were removed from a familiar cage and placed randomly into a large unfamiliar cage. Within minutes, they gathered back together.
Mothers of both species nurtured their young. Often, the mama whip spider would sit in the middle of her offspring and slowly stroke their bodies and whips with her own feelers.
Somehow, even though we LITERALLY just moved into a completely unfamiliar place a week ago, Beatrix apparently feels that her environment is stable enough to try to start a family. It just goes to show that sometimes it doesn’t matter what drastic measures you take in terms of hormone control–”life, uh, finds a way”.