Resting networks and personality predict attack speed in social spiders

Edmund R Hunt, Brian Mi, Rediet Geremew, Camila Fernandez, Brandyn Wong, Jonathan Pruitt, Noa Pinter-Wollman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Groups of social predators capture large prey items collectively, and their social interaction patterns may impact how quickly they can respond to time-sensitive predation opportunities. We investigated whether various organizational levels of resting interactions (individual, sub-group, group), observed at different intervals leading up to a collective prey attack, impacted the predation speed of colonies of the social spider Stegodyphus dumicola. We found that in adult spiders, overall group connectivity (average degree) increased group attack speed. However, this effect was detected only immediately before the predation event; connectivity between 2 and 4 days before prey capture had little impact on the collective dynamics. Significantly, lower social proximity of the group’s boldest individual to other group members (closeness centrality) immediately prior and 2 days before prey capture was associated with faster attack speeds. These results suggest that for adult spiders, the long-lasting effects of the boldest individual on the group’s attack dynamics are mediated by its role in the social network, and not only by its boldness. This suggests that behavioural traits and social network relationships should be considered together when defining keystone individuals in some contexts. By contrast, for subadult spiders, while the group maximum boldness was negatively correlated with latency to attack, no significant resting network predictors of latency to attack were found. Thus, separate behavioural mechanisms might play distinctive roles in determining collective outcomes at different developmental stages, timescales, and levels of social organization.
Original languageEnglish
Article number97
Pages (from-to)97
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number7
Early online date26 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019


  • Boldness
  • Collective behaviour
  • Foraging
  • Keystone individual
  • Social network analysis
  • Stegodyphus dumicola


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