Bioaccumulation of Mercury and Its Effects on Survival, Development and Web-weaving in the Funnel-Web Spider Agelena labyrinthica (Araneae: Agelenidae)

  • Jin Liu
  • Jin Gao
  • Yueli Yun
  • Zhiyong Hu
  • Yu PengEmail author


This study investigated the bioaccumulation and effects of mercury (Hg) in funnel-web spiders, Agelena labyrinthica, following exposure to sublethal concentrations of Hg(NO3)2 in their drinking water. The results showed that the Hg content in adult A. labyrinthica increased rapidly with the number of days exposed to the Hg(NO3)2 solution, and the mortality of adult spiders within 30 days increased with increased concentrations of Hg(NO3)2 in the drinking water. The total developmental duration of A. labyrinthica exposed to Hg(NO3)2 was significantly longer than in the control spiders, but there were no significant differences in the total developmental duration of spiders among the three treatment groups (exposed to 10, 20 and 50 mg/L Hg(NO3)2 solution). We also compared the web-weaving of the control and treated spiders, and found no significant differences in shape, structure, color, or size of the webs between the control and treated spiders; however, there was a significant difference in web placement between the treatment and control groups. The spiders in the control group appeared to have an episodic-like memory, choosing to weave their five webs in the same corner in the five time periods allowed.


Araneae Mercury Bioaccumulation Survival Developmental duration Web-weaving 



This study was supported by the National Natural Science Fund of China (31071895), the Natural Science Fund of Hubei Province (2011CDB071) and the Key Scientific and Technological Projects of Wuhan (No: 201120722216-3). We are grateful to the anonymous reviewer and the associate editor for their suggestions and improvements to this manuscript. We also thank Dr. Janet W. Reid (Biological consulting and editing services, JWR Associates, New York, USA) for helping us edit the English.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jin Liu
    • 1
  • Jin Gao
    • 2
  • Yueli Yun
    • 1
  • Zhiyong Hu
    • 1
  • Yu Peng
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Life SciencesHubei UniversityWuhanPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Hubei Testing Centre of Agricultural Products Quality and SafetyWuhanPeople’s Republic of China

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