Social spiders accept immigrant spiders into their kin-based groups, suggesting that spiders cannot recognise kin and may lose inclusive fitness benefits. A field and two laboratory experiments on Diaea ergandros, a social crab spider, demonstrated that younger and older instar D. ergandros do discriminate siblings, but potential benefits were variable and not equally distributed. First, proportional survival was greater in large groups regardless of the within-group relatedness, so accepting immigrants increases probability of group survival (although relatedness was more important among smaller groups). Second, juvenile D. ergandros ate unrelated spiders instead of siblings when starved, so immigrants might represent a food reserve in times of food shortage. Third, subadult resident, sibling females cannibalised unrelated, immigrant females and their brothers instead of immigrant males when starved, suggesting that subadult female spiders may maximise outbreeding opportunities. These benefits provide selective pressure for groups to accept immigrants, but as benefits are realised differentially, conflict and cooperation will exist within spider groups similar to that shown in other group–living taxa.