, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 129-136
Date: 03 Oct 2003

A predator’s preference for egg-carrying prey: a novel cost of parental care

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Using a subsocial spitting spider (Scytodes pallida) as the prey and a spider-eating jumping spider (Portia labiata) as the predator, the cost of parental care is investigated. Our findings suggest that being singled out as preferred prey by P. labiata is, for egg-carrying females of S. pallida, an important cost of parental care. In survival tests, during which P. labiata was given access to egg-carrying and eggless S. pallida females, egg-carrying females were preyed on more often than eggless females. In preference tests, motionless lures instead of living S. pallida were used. The lures were made by mounting dead egg-carrying and dead eggless S. pallida females in lifelike posture in webs. In these tests, P. labiata detected and identified, by vision alone, both kinds of prey (egg-carrying and eggless), and singled out egg-carrying females as preferred prey.

Communicated by M.A. Elgar