Exploring the relationship between collective personality and behavioral plasticity in warring arthropod societies (#131)
Collective personalities of animal societies can sometimes predict whether they flourish or whether they fail. These collective personalities often arise from the behavioral composition of the individuals that comprise the society. Different behavioral compositions generally perform differently in orchestrating and shaping complex tasks such as foraging, prey capture, and colony defense. In instances where predators and prey share a long evolutionary history, prey species sometimes exhibit a specialized, species-specific, anti-predator response to their presence. Here we show how different behavioral compositions of desert social spider (Stegodyphus dumicola) societies survive and modulate their collective foraging and defensive behavior in the presence or perceived presence of a common voracious predator, the pugnacious ant (Anoplolepis custodiens). Our results reveal a subtle interaction between group composition and group experience in determining the collective behavior of spider societies, which, in turn, can impact their survival under siege in situ.