Metabolite Profiling of Social Spiders (Stegodyphus dumicola) along a Climate Gradient

Tobias Sandfeld, Martina Wurster, Kirsten Malmos, Jesper Smærup Bechsgaard, Michael Lalk, Thomas Vosegaard, Trine Bilde, Andreas Schramm

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearch


Social spiders of the genus Stegodyphus live in colonies of hundreds of individuals, and in close association with microorganisms, that encompass bacterial endosymbionts and diverse bacteria and fungi in their nests. Social spiders are highly inbred due to a strictly inbreeding mating system resulting in extremely low genetic variation on all levels. Conventionally, inbreeding results in severe fitness loss through expression of deleterious alleles and the random loss of alleles. However, social spiders are evolutionary old, ecologically successful, and spread over multiple climate zones in nature.
We hypothesize that social spiders cope with environmental challenges by producing low molecular weight metabolites; some of these metabolites may also be produced by symbiotic bacteria, thus helping their host to adapt to different environmental conditions. Irrespective the origin of the compound, they should be reflected in the spiders’ metabolite profiles.
Social spiders were sampled in triplicates from three populations along a climate gradient in Namibia, Southern Africa. Whole animals were extracted with methanol and water, and the lyophilized extracts were analyzed by GC-MS and 1H-NMR.
Metabolite profiles were highly reproducible within each population, while they showed remarkable differences between the three populations; one possible reason may be adaptation of the spider-microbe system to the local climate. To test this hypothesis, we are currently performing a controlled lab experiment assessing temperature tolerance and potential for adaptation of the three field populations along with their microbiome and metabolite profile.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date14 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2018
Event17th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology - Congress Center Leipzig (CCL), Leipzig, Germany
Duration: 12 Aug 201817 Aug 2018
Conference number: 17


Conference17th International Symposium on Microbial Ecology
LocationCongress Center Leipzig (CCL)
Internet address

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