Arthropod family bonds and chemical recognition

To complete these approaches, we investigate the role of chemical communication by arthropods in kin recognition, as the first step to understand mother-young recognition.

Arthropod family bonds and chemical recognition

Previously our team focused on social cognition of cockroaches (Blattella germanica) that live in groups containing up to several million individuals and thus face complex recognition challenges. We gave the first detailed description of an insect kin recognition system. Moreover, we identified simple mechanisms by which animal groups solve complex cognitive problems.
Now, our research focuses on solitary spiders that present two modes of living: solitary most of their lives but gregarious during the first days of their life. This gregarious period begins inside a cocoon, and persists for several days after the emergence of the spiderlings. We aim to evidence changes in the social behaviour, physiological state and changes in chemical signals involved in mothers-young relationships related to the transition from the gregarious to the solitary.

Highlights

  1. Cockroaches discriminate their conspecifics using chemical signals based on relatedness levels and thereby indirectly favouring development and reproduction.
  2. Spiders' nutritional states and maintenance of tolerant social behaviour can be disconnected. For example, adult Brachypelma albopilosum (Theraphosidae) females can modulate their aggressive behaviour in relation to their nutritional state and in particular to their levels of circulating lipids.
  3. Perception of chemical cues appears to be a key factor favouring contact between spiders during development.