Fancy a cup of milk? Baby spiders suckle ‘spider milk’ from their mothers

Mammals provide their offspring with milk during early development, yet this behaviour is rare in other parts of the animal kingdom. Now, a research team has found that young jumping spiders (Toxeus magnus) lap up nutritious milk droplets secreted from the mother’s underside for nearly 40 days before they leave the nest.

Spiderlings draw milk from their mother

The fluid contains nearly four times the amount of protein found in cow’s milk, and appears to be sufficient to nourish the spiderlings until they reach maturity. In their study, published in Science, the team observed as the mother left drops of the milk around the nests for their offspring to find, before they graduated to directly sucking from her body. Although nursing was not critical to the spiderlings' survival after becoming independent, access to their mother's milk improved their overall health and adult survival. Read the full Science article here.