Celebrate Family Day with a very social spider

The newly discovered Chikunia bilde breaks many rules about the spider-verse
social spider chikunia bilde Meet Chikunia bilde, the spider who loves to hang out. (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Monday, February 18—a.k.a. today!—is a holiday in much of Canada. It is Family Day in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick. Meanwhile, the day is known as Louis Riel Day in Manitoba, Islander Day in Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia Heritage Day in, wait for it ... Nova Scotia.

Anyway, if you are someone who is celebrating a holiday today, we hope that you're getting a chance to spend it with your family and the people you love. To help you build that special bond, we'd like to introduce you to a spider. No, that isn't a typo.

Don't worry, I'm a social spider!

Chikunia bilde is a new spider species that was recently discovered by Dr. Lena Grinsted, a researcher at Royal Holloway at the University of London. This small creature, which lives in the Indonesian province of Bali, belongs to a rare class of arachnid: the social spider. You see, while most spiders are solitary, aggressive to others, and even cannibalistic (that's means that they eat each other), C. bilde loves to hang out with other spiders.

Even more unusual? It lives in groups called colonies alongside another species, Chikunia nigra. This is quite remarkable, even among other social spiders. Could they be the most friendly spiders ever? C. bilde also:

  • Do not bite people and can live easily next to human activity
  • Manage to keep their genetic lineage separate despite living so close to another species
  • Could prove to be an excellent controller of pests like mosquitos and various flies
  • Are tiny, and therefore, cute!

In other words, if you're looking for a great Family Day gift, why not get some Chikunia bilde spiders to come live in your garden? They're friendly, eat lots of bugs, and really fun to hang out with (probably). Enjoy the holiday!

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