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Experimental evidence that high humidity is an essential cue for web building in Pasilobus spiders

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Spiders in the subfamily Cyrtarachninae, including bolas spiders, are moth specialists, and it has been suggested that these spiders initiate web-weaving under high humidity. Here we used Pasilobus hupingensis to experimentally test whether Cyrtarachninae spiders build webs exclusively under high humidity. The results showed that humidity, as well as temperature and prey feeding history, affected web-building probability, but humidity had a much stronger effect. Moreover, spiders never constructed webs at under <70% humidity. We suggest that a mechanical property in sticky materials derived from moth specialization; namely, unusually high, yet rapidly degrading stickiness, is likely to have promoted the evolution of plastic foraging behaviour that varies with humidity.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratory of Biodiversity Science, School of Agriculture & Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan

*Corresponding author’s e-mail address: tmiya@es.a.u-tokyo.ac.jp
10.1163/1568539X-00003440
/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003440
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/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003440
2017-08-31
2018-04-22

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