Airborne Chemical Communication in the Wolf Spider Pardosa milvina
- Cite this article as:
- Searcy, L.E., Rypstra, A.L. & Persons, M.H. J Chem Ecol (1999) 25: 2527. doi:10.1023/A:1020878225553
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Most studies involving chemical communication in spiders focus on contact pheromones attached to spider silk. Here we tested if males of the wolf spider Pardosa milvina use airborne pheromones to identify, locate, and follow females. Using a two-choice olfactometer, we tested the response of adult male P. milvina to a number of potential chemical cues while controlling for concomitant visual and vibratory stimuli. An airborne chemical cue from adult virgin female P. milvina elicited a positive taxis response from the male. We also tested adult male responses to penultimate instar female P. milvina, one adult male P. milvina, and two adult males together. In each case, test males showed no attraction to the stimuli. Additional experiments were run with pitfall traps baited with adult virgin female P. milvina as attractants. Again, we controlled for visual and vibratory cues from females. Pitfall traps containing virgin females captured significantly more males than control traps. Collectively, these experiments demonstrate evidence of an airborne sex pheromone in P. milvina.