, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 567-580
Date: 17 Apr 2014

Effects of Spider Chemotactile Cues on Arthropod Behavior

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Abstract

Predation risk can strongly affect the behavior of prey species. However, empirical evidence for changes in behavior driven by spider cues is restricted to relatively few taxa. Here, we conducted a series of behavioral experiments to test for changes in activity among a wide range of terrestrial arthropods. We confronted 13 insect and eight spider species with chemotactile cues of three spider species. We applied two different experimental setups: In the ‘no-choice experiment’ prey individuals were either put on control filter papers or on filter papers previously occupied by a spider. In the ‘choice experiment’, the prey individuals were able to choose between filter paper halves with and without spider cues. In both setups, the response to spider cues depended significantly on prey species, with some species increasing and others decreasing their activity. Surprisingly few prey species responded to the spider cues at all. Our results indicate that predator recognition upon contact with cue bearing filter papers is strongly prey-specific and that behavioral effects driven by spider chemotactile cues are an exception rather than the rule among terrestrial arthropods.