The Mothers of Mothers!

Are spiders the most selfless mothers of all?

Everyone knows that a mother’s love is sacrificial in nature. She gives and gives of herself in order to ensure the well-being of her children….that’s just what a mother does!

Well, we have a found a mother that literally gives “herself” in the care of her offspring.

Allow us to introduce you to the female super mom: Stegodyphus lineatus. This little spider is the supreme example of motherly love. After laying a clutch of about 70-80 yellowish eggs, this mother goes to work in the most remarkable fashion nurturing her little offspring.

First, after laying her little eggs, her abdomen begins to liquefy. This abdominal soup is prepared in order to provide an easy and nutritious meal for her babies.

When the spiderlings finally hatch, they’re stuck in the clutch. Mom then pierces the protective silk covering, frees them, and then she stops eating….for the rest of her life.

The mother of all mothers?

Photo Credit: JORGE ALMEIDA/FLICKR (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

For the next two weeks or so, she feeds the multitudes of babies by regurgitating the previously prepared abdominal liquid delicacy, which includes a combination of her last meals and her own guts.

As the feeding process continues, the spiderlings swarm around mom’s head like bees on a hive! She regurgitates approximately 41 percent of her weight to feed these demanding little ones!

But the meal doesn’t end at liquid guts…these spiderlings begin to pierce her abdomen with their mouthparts and over the course of several hours drain the rest of her!!

And the end of this feeding process, this mega mom has contributed all but 4 percent of her body mass to her babies! The one organ that remains after this last supper: her heart.

And what a heart it is! Wow!

And speaking of mothers, Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there... 😉

Source: Science News

 

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