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Behavioural Tactics for Prey Capture and Prey Ingestion in Two Sympatric Spiders

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

Hunting tactics of two sympatric orb-weaving spiders Argiope bruennichi (Scopoli) and Araneus marmoreus Clerck were investigated in the field by offering them flies (40 mg) or grasshoppers (250 mg or 100 mg). For each prey item offered capture rate, spider behaviour and duration were observed. Quantities ingested by the spiders and durations of ingestion of grasshoppers were investigated in the laboratory. Spiders of both species exhibit distinct tactics for each prey type. To capture grasshoppers, spiders first wrap them and then bite their prey. After first leaving the prey, the spider returns, carries the prey to the retreat or to the hub and then ingests it. To capture flies, spiders of both species first bite it, and immediately carry it to the hub or the retreat where they eat it. A. bruennichi showed more variable tactics with flies than with grasshoppers. A. marmoreur showed more variable tactics with small grasshoppers. Total time taken for the capture of a given prey type was similar for the two spiders: for grasshoppers A. marmoreus had a longer handling time and ingested a larger part of grasshoppers, but spent less time ingesting it than A. bruennichi.

Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire de Biologie et Physiologie du Comportement, Université H. Poincaré-Nancy I, B.P 239, F-54506 Vandoeuvre les Nancy Cedex, France


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