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Interspecific Interactions of Communal Jumping Spiders (Araneae, Salticidae) From Kenya: Mechanisms of Sex- and Species-Recognition

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image of Behaviour

Menemerus, Pseudicius sp. 1, and Pseudicius 2 are communal salticids that live in very large interspecific nest complexes, a habit which is highly unusual for cursorial spiders. Cohabitation with communal, territorial web-building spiders is another unusual characteristic of these species, their nest complexes being built within the alien webbing. Distinct courtship versatility occurs in each species: the male performs visual (Type 1) courtship away from nest and vibratory (Type 2) courtship at nests, and he cohabits with subadult females in nests and mates with them when they mature. Different display behaviour occurs during intraspecific male-male interactions, but minimal interaction occurs between conspecific females. Distinct differences occur in the display behaviours of the different species. Little interaction occurs between the three species, and the hypothesis that display differences are important in species recognition is not supported. Apparently, interspecific discrimination occurs routinely by means other than by displays both at and away from nests. At nests, contact with the silk, even in the absence of the female, enables males to make species- and sex-discriminations. Pheromones are probably involved. The emphasis traditionally given to species-recognition in discussions of salticid display behaviour is probably inappropriate.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 1, New Zealand


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