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Parental Care of Insects and Spiders

Why parental care?

Level of care

Different insects species provide different level of parental care to their young;
- just lay eggs, do not care,
- lay eggs in selective environments, e.g. grasshopper,
- lay eggs at a suitable place, plant, food plants, parasite host, e.g., butterfly and moth,
- eggs protections, e.g., some bug species
- young protections, e.g., some bug species,
- found food for young, e.g., wasp
Followings are some examples of insect and spiders parental care;

Maternal care in Stink Bug

Protection of eggs is quite common in the insect order, especially in this Pentatomidae family. Some stink bug species exhibit maternal care by standing guard over their egg batches. This Golden Brown Stink Bug is a good example. The mother bug guard not only the eggs, but also the 1st instars until they become 2nd instars.
When bugs just hatched. They stay around their eggs cases. The1st instars nymph bugs do not suck plant sap when they first emerge. They feed on bacteria which the female deposited on the eggs when she laid them. The bugs have to liquefy the food with saliva first before they can feed on it.
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We saw this stink bug mother with her new hatched babies on a gum tree leaf. When we get near to have a closer look, the mother bug always tilt her body towards us blocking our vision to her babies. No matter how we disturbed her, she just stayed on top of her young bugs and did not move a bit.   
We cut the leaf and brought them home to see what will happen next. Two days later, the young bugs molted and become 2nd instars. Those small bugs then walked away from their mother. The mother finish her duty as the bug mother.

Wolf Spider

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This female Wolf Spider is carrying her young spiders at her abdomen. We find this spider hunting at night in our garden in a summer night. Its carapace is mainly black in colour, with two white lines along the edge. Some weeks ago I saw a similar spider and its abdomen look interesting. When I disturbed it, I saw many small spiders running at all direction from their mother's abdomen. 

Lynx Spider

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Lynx Spider showing its parental care, guarding her eggs, two weeks later, guarding her children. This is common in the spider world. Lynx Spiders do not build web nor retreat but make egg sac on leaves.

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Last updated: November 06, 2006.