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Naturwissenschaften. 2007 Oct;94(10):853-7. Epub 2007 May 30.

Prey detection without successful capture affects spider's orb-web building behaviour.

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Tokyo Keizai University, Kokubunji, Tokyo 185-8502, Japan.


Animals obtain information from past foraging experience to adjust their foraging activity according to their environment. The ability of spiders to obtain information from unsuccessful predation experiences was investigated by examining the effects on web building, a significant foraging investment, of prey detection without successful capture in the orb-web spider Cyclosa octotuberculata. Four treatments were employed: (1) successful capture and feeding: one syrphid fly was allowed to be captured and consumed by the spider on the web; (2) single prey-item detection: a syrphid fly was placed on the web to lure the spider, but was removed before capture; (3) five prey-item detection: above prey-item detection stimulus was given five times; and, (4) control: neither prey nor feeding on the web. While control spiders decreased the total thread length and capture area of their webs, prey-item detection spiders in both conditions increased them, indicating that the spider obtained information from unsuccessful predation experience to adjust their foraging investment. The fed spiders exhibited a significantly greater increase than the prey-detection-only spiders, suggesting that prey detection alone and prey detection with consumption had different informational effects. Total thread length did not differ between single and five prey-item detection spiders, but distance between two adjacent sticky spirals increased only in the former spiders, possibly because five times unsuccessful predations prevented spiders to reduce web stickiness. It suggests that the spider changed web morphology according to the number of prey detection.

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