Oecologia

, Volume 78, Issue 4, pp 542–549

Stochastic prey arrivals and crab spider giving-up times: simulations of spider performance using two simple “rules of thumb”

  • Peter Kareiva
  • Douglass H. Morse
  • Jill Eccleston
Original Papers

Summary

We compared the patch-choice performances of an ambush predator, the crab spider Misumena vatia (Thomisidae) hunting on common milkweed Asclepias syriaca (Asclepiadaceae) umbles, with two stochastic rule-of-thumb simulation models: one that employed a threshold giving-up time and one that assumed a fixed probability of moving. Adult female Misumena were placed on milkweed plants with three umbels, each with markedly different numbers of flower-seeking prey. Using a variety of visitation regimes derived from observed visitation patterns of insect prey, we found that decreases in among-umbel variance in visitation rates or increases in overall mean visitation rates reduced the “clarity of the optimum” (the difference in the yield obtained as foraging behavior changes), both locally and globally. Yield profiles from both models were extremely flat or jagged over a wide range of prey visitation regimes; thus, differences between optimal and “next-best” strategies differed only modestly over large parts of the “foraging landscape”. Although optimal yields from fixed probability simulations were one-third to one-half those obtained from threshold simulations, spiders appear to depart umbels in accordance with the fixed probability rule.

Key words

Foraging Rules of thumb Spider Stochastic model Yield profile 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Barnard, CF, Brown CAG (1985) Risk-sensitive foraging in common shrews. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 16:161–164Google Scholar
  2. Caraco T, Gillespie RG (1986) Risk-sensitivity: foraging mode in an ambush predator. Ecology 67:1180–1185Google Scholar
  3. Charnov EL (1976) Optimal foraging: the marginal value theorem. Theor Popul Biol 9:129–136Google Scholar
  4. Fritz RS, Morse DH (1981) Nectar parasitism of Asclepias syriaca by ants: effect on nectar levels, pollinia insertion, pollinaria removal and pod production. Oecologia 50:316–319Google Scholar
  5. Fritz RS, Morse DH (1985) Reproductive success and foraging of the crab spider Misumena vatia. Oecologia 65:194–200Google Scholar
  6. Gould SJ, Lewontin RC (1979) The spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian paradigm: A critique of the adaptationist programme. Proc R Soc London, Ser B 205:581–598Google Scholar
  7. Heinrich B (1983) Do bumblebees forage optimally, and does it matter? Am Zool 23:273–281Google Scholar
  8. Janetos AC, Cole BJ (1981) Imperfectly optimal animals. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 9:203–210Google Scholar
  9. Kacelnik A (1984) Central place foraging in starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). I. Patch residence time. J Anim Ecol 53:283–299Google Scholar
  10. Kacelnik A, Houston AI, Krebs JR (1981) Optimal foraging and territorial defence in the great tit (Parus major). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 8:35–40Google Scholar
  11. Krebs JR, Stephens DW, Sutherland WJ (1983) Perspectives on optimal foraging. In: Brush AH, Clark GA Jr (eds) Perspectives in ornithology. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 165–216Google Scholar
  12. McNamara JM (1982) Optimal patch use in a stochastic environment. Theor Popul Biol 21:269–288Google Scholar
  13. McNamara JM, Houston AI (1980) The application of statistical decision theory to animal behaviour. J Theor Biol 85:673Google Scholar
  14. McNamara JM, Houston AI (1985) A simple model of information use in the exploitation of patchily distributed food. Anim Behav 33:553–560Google Scholar
  15. Morse DH (1979) Prey capture by the crab spider Misumena calycina (Araneae: Thomisidae). Oecologia 39:309–319Google Scholar
  16. Morse DH (1981a) Prey capture by the crab spider Misumena vatia (L.) (Thomisidae) on three common native flowers. Am Midl Nat 105:358–367Google Scholar
  17. Morse DH (1981 b) Modification of bulble bee foraging: the effect of milkweed pollinia. Ecology 62:89–97Google Scholar
  18. Morse DH (1985) Milkweeds and their visitors. Sci Am 253:112–119Google Scholar
  19. Morse DH (1986a) Foraging behavior of crab spiders (Misumena vatia) hunting on inflorescences of different quality. Am Midl Nat 116:341–347Google Scholar
  20. Morse DH (1986b) Inflorescence choice and time allocation by insects foraging on milkweed. Oikos 46:229–236Google Scholar
  21. Morse DH, Fritz RS (1982) Experimental and observational studies of patch choice at different scales by the crab spider Misumena vatia. Ecology 63:172–182Google Scholar
  22. Morse DH, Fritz RS (1987) The consequences of foraging on reproductive success. In: Kamil AC, Krebs JR, Pulliam HR (eds) Foraging behavior. Plenum Press, New York, pp 443–455Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Kareiva
    • 1
  • Douglass H. Morse
    • 2
  • Jill Eccleston
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, NJ-15University of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Graduate Program in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Division of Biology & MedicineBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA
  3. 3.Department of EntomologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

Personalised recommendations