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Spider Milk? Researchers Make Surprising Discovery




(Newser)
                                        

                                        It was an arachnid mystery: Scientists studying a particular type of spider could not figure out how the babies kept growing in the nest. Then a researcher spotted a baby clinging to her mother's abdomen. Zhanqi Chen of the Chinese Academy of Science tells of the jumping spider Toxeus magnus. Hey what spot on: It turns out its mothers' milk, "similar to mammals, the researchers report in Science . Technically, the secretion from the abdomen might not be milk-spilled, it is at least milk-ish, perhaps made up of partially digested eggs that went unfertilized, explains Popular Science.
                                    

And when researchers describe it as a "nutritious milk-like substance," they're not kidding. The stuff has four times the protein of cow's milk. Researchers found that the mother continues to feed her offspring for about 40 days, but the spiders are ready to leave the nest at 20 days and begin supplementing their diet with insects. Generally, females were allowed to return to their counterparts, reports Gizmodo. When the scientists blocked the mother's secretion, her baby spiders died after about 1

0 days. And if they were removed from the nest at 20 days, the babies had a significantly lower rate of survival. When it comes to spiders, "this type of maternal care may have been more widespread than has been assumed," the researchers conclude. (Spider fans want to visit this Greek town.)

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