, Volume 39, Issue 3, pp 309–319

Prey capture by the crab spider Misumena calycina (Araneae: Thomisidae)

  • Douglass H. Morse

DOI: 10.1007/BF00345442

Cite this article as:
Morse, D.H. Oecologia (1979) 39: 309. doi:10.1007/BF00345442


Crab spiders Misumena calycina (L.) in pasture rose Rosa carolina flowers regularly attacked bumble bees, smaller bees, and syrphid flies that visited these flowers. Attacks reached a maximum rate of over 20/h during mid morning, but only 1.6% of the most important prey item, bumble bees, were captured. The next most important food source, the most frequently taken item, syrphid flies Toxomerus marginatus (Say), were captured in 39% of the attempts. Since these flies have a biomass only 1/60th that of bumble bees, they comprised a much less important food source than did bumble bees. Spiders would obtain over 7% more food by specializing on bumble bees than by attacking all insect visitors, and as much as 20% more food at certain times of the day. However, they did not show a tendency to specialize at any time.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Douglass H. Morse
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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