Keystone individuals

In some societies, one or few individuals have a disproportionate impact on the collective behavior of the groups. Examples include leaders and tutors and a general term refers to these as ‘keystone individuals’. In the social spider Stegodyphus dumicola, some individuals are bolder than other group members and their presence in the group can expedite collective prey attack.  We examine how interactions among individuals determine the impact of keystone individuals on the behavior of other group members.

Hunt E.R., Mi B., Geremew R., Fernandez C., Wong B.M., Pruitt J.N., & Pinter-Wollman N. 2019. Resting networks predict attack speed in social spiders, Behavioral Ecology Sociobiology. 73:97

Hunt E.R., Mi B., Fernandez C., Wong B.M, Pruitt J.N., & Pinter-Wollman N. 2018. Social interactions shape individual and collective personality in social spiders. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. 285: 20181366

Pinter-Wolman N., Mi B., & Pruitt J.N. 2017. Replacing bold individuals has a smaller impact on group performance than replacing shy individuals. Behavioral Ecology


S. dumicola adult female

S. dumicola

S. dumicola females with spiderlings on the web of their nest


Juvenile S. dumicola painted for unique identification