Eric C. Yip
My dissertation examines the evolution of sociality in the huntsman spider, Delena cancerides. These spiders form mother-offspring groups under exfoliating bark and do not build capture webs like the majority of other social spiders. Many of the benefits of group-living proposed for spiders, such as the cooperative capture of large prey, depend on the presence of a web. I examine the costs and benefits of group-living in this webless spider to examine how different selective pressures may have led to sociality in this species. My project has combined field work in Australia and laboratory studies at Cornell University to examine foraging patterns, predator defense, nestmate recognition, inter-colony migration rates and genetic relatedness in this species. Currently, I am examining female inheritance of the natal retreat and competition for available retreats to further examine constraints on dispersal in Delena cancerides.
Funding Sources: Sage Fellowship – Cornell University; Australia-US Fulbright Fellowship 2006-2007; NSF GRFP.