Wind speed affects prey-catching behaviour in an orb web spider
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Wind has previously been shown to influence the location and orientation of spider web sites and also the geometry and material composition of constructed orb webs. We now show that wind also influences components of prey-catching behaviour within the web. A small wind tunnel was used to generate different wind speeds. Araneus diadematus ran more slowly towards entangled Drosophila melanogaster in windy conditions, which took less time to escape the web. This indicates a lower capture probability and a diminished overall predation efficiency for spiders at higher wind speeds. We conclude that spiders’ behaviour of taking down their webs as wind speed increases may therefore not be a response only to possible web damage.
KeywordsOrb spiders Wind Predatory behaviour Optimal foraging Prey escape Araneidae
This work was funded by a Marie Curie Career Development fellowship to TH.
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