Dr. Anja Junghanns

Doctoral student

Zoological Institute and Museum
General and Systematic Zoology

Loitzer Str. 26
Building 3.3, Room 0.48
17489 Greifswald

Tel.: +49 (0)3834 420-4281
Fax: +49 (0)3834 420-4098

Research interests

During my PhD I examine the fundamental morphological and ethological requirements and mechanisms that facilitated the evolution of sociality in velvet spiders (Eresidae). I therefore conduct a comparative study on the subsocial species Stegodyphus lineatus and the social Stegodyphus dumicola.

I focus on the extreme brood care which is assumed to be an important requirement for the evolution of permanent sociality in velvet spiders. In a behavioural approach I aim to explore how virgin females in a colony of the social species contribute to reproductive success of a group and how reproductive role among females is determined. Additionally, using paraffin histology and ultrathin sections, I investigate what kind of morphological changes a mother experiences during brood care. I furthermore compare the morphological processes in mothers of both species with virgin helpers in S. dumicola to identify the morphological adaptations that accompany the evolution of sociality.

My work will therefore contribute to the understanding of the fundamental aspects of the evolution of sociality.


Curriculum Vitae
Since 04/2014 PhD Student, Zoological Institute and Museum, University of Greifswald, Germany. “Evolution of sociality: mechanisms and dynamics of social behavior in spiders”
01/2014 Diploma thesis: "Histologische Untersuchungen der Matriphagie bei der Röhrenspinne Stegodyphus lineatus (Latreille, 1817)" ("Histological investigatons of matriphagy in the velvet spider Stegodyphus lineatus (Latreille, 1817)")
10/2008 - 01/2014 Diploma studies "landscape ecology and nature conservation" at the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University Greifswald
10/2006 - 04/2008 Bachelor studies "biodiversity and ecology" at the Georg-August-University Göttingen
12/2017 German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to support a research stay in Aarhus /Denmark
05/2017 German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to support an university exchange in Brno /Czech Republik
09/2016 German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to support a research stay in Aarhus /Denmark
12/2015 German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to support a research stay in Aarhus /Denmark
2014 Student Grant of the Organising Committee of the 28th European Congress of Arachnology
04/2014 – 2017 State Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany state scholarship for PhD students (LFG)
01/2014 German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) to support a research stay in Aarhus /Denmark
01/2013 Forschungsnetzwerk Ostseeraum, University Greifswald /Germany to support a research stay in Aarhus /Denmark
Publications and talks
Schendel, V.; Junghanns, A., Bilde, T. & Uhl, G.: Comparative female genital morphology in Stegodyphus spiders (Araneae: Eresidae). Zoologischer Anzeiger 273: 240-249 link
Junghanns, A.; Holm, C.; Schou, M. F.; Sørensen, A. B.; Uhl, G. & Bilde, T. 2017: Extreme allomaternal care and unequal task participation by unmated females in a cooperatively breeding spiders. Animal Behaviour 132: 101-107 University press report.
Schmidt V., Mock R., Burgkhardt E., Junghanns, A., Ortlieb F., Szabo I., Marschang R., Blindow I. and Krautwald-Junghanns M.-E. 2014: Cloacal aerobic bacterial flora and absence of viruses in free-living Slow Worms (Anguis fragilis), Grass Snakes (Natrix natrix) and European Adders (Vipera berus) from Germany. EcoHealth. DOI: 10.1007/s10393-014-0947-6.
Jährling F., Junghanns A. and Ortlieb F. 2013: Zootoca vivipara (Common Lizard). Record Weight. Herpetological Review 44(3): 517.
110th Annual Meeting of the German Zoological Society (DZG), Bielefeld /Germany. “Extreme allomaternal care by unmated females in a cooperatively breeding spider”
Tag der Wissenschaft (Science Day) at the University of Greifswald /Germany. “Von Gruppenkuscheln bis Muttermord – aus dem faszinierenden Leben einer sozialen Spinne“
European Congress of Arachnology in Brno /Czech Republik. “Reproductive role shapes task differentiation in a social spider”
International Course “Advanced Behavioural Ecology” of the universities of Hamburg, Aarhus and Greifswald in Peevesdorf /Germany. “Histological investigation of extreme maternal brood care in the subsocial spider Stegodyphus lineatus
European Congress of Arachnology in Turin /Italy. “Histological examination of the mechanisms and dynamics of maternal care in the subsocial spider Stegodyphus lineatus (Araneae, Eresidae)”