Animal Cognition

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 247–254 | Cite as

One-encounter search-image formation by araneophagic spiders

  • Robert R. Jackson
  • Daiqin Li
Original Article


An experimental study of search-image use by araneophagic jumping spiders (i.e., salticid spiders that prey routinely on other spiders) supports five conclusions. First, araneophagic salticids have an innate predisposition to form search images for specific prey from their preferred prey category (spiders) rather than for prey from a non-preferred category (insects). Second, single encounters are sufficient for forming search images. Third, search images are based on selective attention specifically to optical cues. Fourth, there are trade-offs in attention during search-image use (i.e., forming a search image for one type of spider diminishes the araneophagic salticid’s attention to other spiders). Fifth, the araneophagic salticid’s adoption of search images is costly to the prey (i.e., when the araneophagic salticid adopts a search, the prey’s prospects for surviving encounters with the araneophagic salticid are diminished). Cognitive and ecological implications of search-image use are discussed.


Search image Selective attention Spiders Portia Scytodes 



Work in the Philippines was generously supported by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and we are especially grateful to Alberto T. Barrion, Kong Luen Heong, and Tom W. Mew for the numerous ways in which they supported the research and to the following IRRI staff for their assistance: Elpie Hernandez, Errol Rico, Ruben Abuyo, Glicerio Javier Jr, Josie Lynn Catindig and Clod Lapis. Our research was funded in part by grants from the Marsden Fund of the New Zealand Royal Society (UOC305) and the National University of Singapore ARC (R-154-000-140-112 and R-154-000-188-112). All work complied with the current laws of New Zealand, the Philippines and Singapore.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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