Chinese scientists has discovered a spider species that feeds their babies with milk as mammals, this marks the first time humans discovered invertebrates breastfeeding and nursing theirs offspring.
Breastfeeding is a unique animal behavior to mammals, including humans. This type of spider, commonly known as big ant spider, discovered with “breastfeeding behavior”, belongs to Myrmarachne of Salticidae, which is a spider species widely distributed in the tropical and subtropical regions of East and Southeast Asia.
“Spider babies which just hatched out clime up on spider moms’ bellies, to eat a kind of liquid (secreted by spider moms), which was tested to be milk containing four times the protein of cow’s milk. We call it spider milk,” said Chen Zhanqi, post doctor, Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Spider babies which just hatched out clime up on spider moms' bellies, to eat a kind of liquid (secreted by spider moms).
Researchers found after long-term observation that the newly hatched spider babies feed themselves entirely with the milk in the first 20 days after birth.
The study also found that spider babies don’t leave their mothers after weaning, and continue to stay with them in nests, even after they grow up.
“I think that it will change the way we look at invertebrates, spiders, insects which we haven’t really thought capable of this complex maternal behavior. They are all completely new, and this is something we didn’t know before,” Richard Corlett, editor, periodical Biological Conservation said.
Experts believe that this breakthrough discovery has extremely important significance for the research on revolution of breastfeeding behavior for contemporary animals.