Nature and its creations can be too confounding at times, sometimes defying its own rules. While scientists keep on making some amazing discoveries from time to time, a new species of spiders have been found, which feed milk to their babies! Spiders may not categorically fall under mammals but a species of Toxeus magnus spider mothers feeding and nursing their newly borns. Spiders lay eggs and for the first time, such a motherly care was observed by a group of researchers in China. The duration and intensity shown by the mother spider and the young ones were unusual. The findings have been recorded in the journal Science. Man Sets House on Fire After Trying to Kill a Spider with a Blowtorch in California.
A team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Yunnan were studying a species of jumping spider which is usually found in Taiwan. They wanted to understand how the spiders look after their young ones and thus set up a spider nest in lab conditions for observation. They were surprised when they saw the mother producing something milk and the younger spiders feeding on it. It was observed the mother secretes the substance onto the floor, but after a week, the young spiders latched on to their mother to directly eat it. On closer study, they found that the substance was nothing but milk itself. Scientists Train Spider Kim to Jump on Demand to Study Secrets of Animal Movement.
Watch Video of Spiders Drinking Milk From Their Mother
The researchers also observed that despite growing independent in few days span, the young ones still depend on their mother's milk. This milk was essential to build on the health and chances of survival for the younger spiders. It is still not known if this is the only species of lactating spider or is it a common behaviour seen in all arachnids. But among the non-mammals producing 'milk' are some birds like pigeons and flamingos who produce similar milk. The recent finding, however, gives a wider perspective of watching out for spiders and their upbringing.