Most mothers would do anything for their children.
In the case of some arachnid mothers, however, anything means allowing her hundreds of babies to dissolve her from the inside out, so that they can feast on her nutritious body for survival.
That's some intense baby formula!
A mother spider sacrifices herself as prey to her offspring as an essential step to waking up their hunting instincts -- without which, the offspring could not survive.
"The mother circles the youngsters, tapping and vibrating the web. and something awakens in the spiderlings. They swarm in a frenzy, aware somehow that when something stirs near the web, it's time to eat," the National Geographic narrator explains in the video above. "The mother then presses herself into her babies, stimulating instinct even more -- then the final switch is flipped, and they attack."
The process is called matriphagy, or mother-eating. This cannibalistic process can happen within a few hours of birth, and is common in several arachnid species and a few other closely-related creatures.
Now, what has your mother done for you today?
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