Microhabitat selection and audible sexual signalling in the wolf spider Hygrolycosa rubrofasciata (Araneae, Lycosidae)
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- Kotiaho, J., Alatalo, R., Mappes, J. et al. acta ethol (2000) 2: 123. doi:10.1007/s102110000017
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We studied the microhabitat selection and male sexual signalling behaviour in the wolf spider Hygrolycosa rubrofasciata (Ohlert). Males strike dry leaves with their abdomen, producing an audible sexual drumming signal, and females use this signal to choose mating partners. In the field we followed male drumming rate and microhabitat selection using both the mark–recapture method and direct observations. In the laboratory we conducted an experiment on male microhabitat and drumming substrate selection. We found that in the field males were not distributed randomly among the habitat; fewer males were found in areas that had high sedge cover, low elevation, and low dry leaf cover. In the laboratory experiment, males spent more time on dry leaf substrate. Drumming rate in the field was positively correlated with dry leaf cover and in the laboratory males clearly preferred dry leaves as drumming substrate. Temperature was positively correlated with male drumming rate, and with male and female mobility. We conclude that in H. rubrofasciata male distribution and sexual signalling rate, and thus mating success, are greatly affected by environmental factors. Therefore, males may be sexually selected to make effective use of their signalling habitat by active microhabitat choice.