We performed our studies using the African desert social spider, Stegodyphus dumicola (Araneae, Eresidae). These spiders build a complex silken retreat permeated by an elaborate series of tunnels that can house hundreds of spiders. Often radiating outwards from the retreat are one or more two-dimensional capture webs. Spiders are recruited to the capture web from the retreat in response to vibratory cues indicative of struggling prey. Importantly, these spiders also exhibit consistent individual variation in their boldness–shyness personality, which is defined here as the latency to resume activity after an aversive LCZ696 ( Sloan Wilson, Clark, Coleman, & Dearstyne, 1994). In laboratory studies, boldness and aggressiveness have been shown to be linked with participation in foraging tasks in S. dumicola ( Keiser et al., 2014), and extremely bold individuals appear to have the ability to catalyse otherwise sedentary nestmates into aggressive foraging behaviour ( Pruitt & Keiser, 2014). Similar results have been obtained in studies of Stegodyphus sarasinorum, which hails from an independent origin of sociality within the genus ( Grinsted et?al., 2013, Johannesen et?al., 2007 and Settepani et?al., 2013). In the present study, we created colonies of different sizes and personality compositions in the laboratory and field in order to uncover how colony-level behaviour and individual task participation is arrector pili influenced by personality composition, colony size and morphological composition in situ.