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Oecologia

, Volume 81, Issue 3, pp 392–396 | Cite as

Constraints affecting partial prey consumption by a crab spider, Diaea sp. indet. (Araneae: Thomisidae)

  • Simon D. Pollard
Original Papers

Summary

The influence of feeding constraints on the feeding behaviour of Diaea sp. indet., was investigated. Diaea is a crab spider which ambushes its prey and practises extraintestinal digestion. A laboratory study was carried out using fruit flies, Drosophila immigrans, as prey. Diaea feeds from two sites on the prey — initially the head, followed by the posterior abdomen, with most of the prey's contents being extracted from the head. If additional prey are available, Diaea will, instead of switching to the posterior abdomen, catch a new prey item. The efficiency with which Diaea can extract food is influenced by changes which occur in the prey as a consequence of it being killed and fed on. Evaporative fluid loss from prey is an important constraint on food uptake because in influences the viscosity of the prey's contents. Regardless of whether a new prey item arrives, Diaea discards the prey item on which it is feeding before all of the available food has been extracted from it. The fluid content of the prey is not only part of the food the spider extracts, it is also a resource enabling efficient transfer of food from prey to predator. The value of the prey's fluid content as a resource decreases as a function of feeding time and as a consequence of the spider feeding on the prey.

Key words

Crab spider Feeding strategy Constraints Partial prey consumption 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon D. Pollard
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoology DepartmentUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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