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Oecologia. 1990 Jun;83(2):150-61. doi: 10.1007/BF00317746.

Lizards reduce food consumption by spiders: mechanisms and consequences.

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Department of Zoology, University of California, 95616, Davis, CA, USA.


To determine the effect of lizards on webspider populations, we conducted a long-term field experiment in the Bahamas. Numbers of spider individuals were about 3 times higher in lizard-removal enclosures than in control enclosures with natural densities of lizards. Dietary analyses showed that lizards ate spiders and that lizard and spider diets overlapped substantially. Lizards reduced biomass of prey consumed by spiders; details indicated that they reduced biomass of large (> 4 mm) prey consumed by spiders more than biomass of small (≤4 mm) prey. Similarly, lizards reduced biomass of large aerial arthropods caught in sticky traps but not biomass of small aerial arthropods. We found no evidence that the lizard effect on prey consumption by spiders was caused by a spatial shift from areas with high aerial arthropod abundance to areas with low aerial arthropod abundance. Lizards reduced adult female cephalothorax width and fecundity of spiders. In a separate experiment, food-supplemented spiders were more fecund than control spiders. This study indicates that the interaction between lizards and spiders includes both predation and competition for food.


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