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Isolated Spider Web Stabillmentum Attracts Insects

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The insect-attraction function of silk stabilimenta spun by Argiope spiders was directly tested by examining if isolated stabilimenta will increase insect interception in artificial webs. Artificial webs were made from basswood frames and fine monofilaments coated with a sticky substance and were divided into two groups, experimental and control. In the experimental group, silk stabilimenta isolated from stabilimentum-decorated webs spun by Argiope aurantia were introduced. In the control group, corresponding areas collected from the undecorated webs of A. trifasciata were introduced. A general linear model was used to examine the effect of stabilimenta, web location, and date of data collection on insect interception in artificial webs. When the effects of location and date were simultaneously considered, artificial webs containing isolated stabilimenta intercepted significantly more flying insects (41.6% more) than those in the control group. However, there was no difference in orthopteran interception rates between experimental and control groups. These results indicate that silk stabilimenta of Argiope spiders do attract insects, although not all insects exhibit a strong orientation response to them.

Affiliations: 1: Museum of Zoology and Department of Biology, The University of Michigan, USA, Institute of Zoology, Academia Sinica, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan;, Email: spider@ccvax.sinica.edu.tw

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