, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 835-848

Mimicry of Host Cuticular Hydrocarbons by Salticid Spider Cosmophasis bitaeniata That Preys on Larvae of Tree Ants Oecophylla smaragdina

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Abstract

The salticid spider Cosmophasis bitaeniata preys on the larvae of the green tree ant Oecophylla smaragdina. Gas chromatography (GC) and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) reveal that the cuticle of C. bitaeniata mimics the mono- and dimethylalkanes of the cuticle of its prey. Recognition bioassays with extracts of the cuticular hydrocarbons of ants and spiders revealed that foraging major workers did not respond aggressively to the extracts of the spiders or conspecific nestmates, but reacted aggressively to conspecific nonnestmates. Typically, the ants either failed to react (as with control treatments with no extracts) or they reacted nonaggressively as with conspecific nestmates. These data indicate that the qualitative chemical mimicry of ants by C. bitaeniata allows the spiders to avoid detection by major workers of O. smaragdina.