Arachnologische Mitteilungen

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DOI Code: 10.5431/aramit4308
Author(s): Wetter, M.B., B. Wernisch & S. Toft
Year: 2012
Title: Tests for attraction to prey and predator avoidance by chemical cues in spiders of the beech forest floor
Title translated:
Issue: Heft 43
Pages: 84-89
Abstract: Spiders leave draglines, faeces and other secretions behind when traveling through their microhabitat. The presence of these secretions may unintentionally inform other animals, prey as well as predators, about a recent and possible current predation risk or food availability. For a wolf spider, other spiders including smaller conspecifics, form a substantial part of their prey, and larger wolf spiders, again including conspecifics, are potential predators. We tested two hypotheses: that large wolf spiders may locate patches of potential spider prey through the presence of silk threads and/or other secretions; and that prey spiders may use secretions from large wolf spiders to avoid patches with high predation risk. We used large (subadult or adult) Pardosa saltans to provide predator cues and mixed dwarf spiders or small (juvenile) P. saltans to provide prey cues. Subadult wolf spiders were significantly attracted to litter contaminated by dwarf spiders or small conspecifics after 6 hours but no longer after 24 hours. In contrast, neither dwarf spiders nor small P. saltans showed significant avoidance of substrate contaminated by adult P. saltans. However, small P. saltans showed different activity patterns on the two substrates. The results indicate that wolf spiders are able to increase the efficiency of foraging by searching preferentially in patches with the presence of intraguild prey. The lack of a clear patch selection response of the prey in spite of a modified activity pattern may possibly be associated with the vertical stratification of the beech litter habitat: the reduced volume of spaces in the deeper layers could make downward rather than horizontal movement a fast and safe tactic against a large predator that cannot enter these spaces.
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Keywords: Anti-predatory response, Araneae, cannibalism, IGP, Lycosidae, prey detection

Arachnologische Gesellschaft - Arachnologische Mitteilungen - 10.5431/aramit4308 - 24.3.2017