Biological Invasions

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 89–100 | Cite as

Pre-adaptive shift of a native predator (Araneae, Zodariidae) to an abundant invasive ant species (Hymenoptera, Formicidae)

  • César Monzó
  • María Juan-Blasco
  • Stano Pekár
  • Óscar Mollá
  • Pedro Castañera
  • Alberto Urbaneja
Original Paper


Invasive species often displace native species and can affect ecological processes in invaded habitats. If invasive species become abundant, changes in prey availability may be particularly harmful to specialist predators. The Argentine ant, Linepithema humile Mayr, is an important invasive species on nearly all continents. Spiders of the genus Zodarion are specialised ant-eating predators native to the Mediterranean yet it is unknown if they can exploit invasive ant species. Here we studied spatial and temporal abundance of this invasive ant and the native spider, Zodarion cesari Pekár, during 4 years in four citrus groves. Circadian activity of both spiders and ants, and capture efficiency and prey specificity of the predator were also evaluated. The abundance of Z. cesari was strongly correlated to L. humile abundance. The predatory activity of spiders varied seasonally with differences on the relative frequency of spiders capturing ants depending on the time of the year. In laboratory, Z. cesari displayed most efficient capture upon the native ant Tapinoma nigerrimum (Nylander) and the invasive ant L. humile in comparison with five other native ant species. These results demonstrate that the native spider Z. cesari is successfully exploiting the invasive ant species L. humile and is likely a locally monophagous predator. We suggest that Z. cesari shifted away from native T. nigerrimum post invasion as both ant species are phylogenetically related and of similar size.


Linepithema humile Specialist predator Zodarion Prey specialisation Community ecology 



We thank Aureli Marco and Martí Llavador for the management of the citrus orchards, and Helga Montón, Pilar Vanaclocha and David Tortosa (IVIA) for technical assistance. Kiko Gómez for his help on the taxonomic identification of the ant species and Dr. Alejandro Tena (IVIA) for comments about this work.

Supplementary material

Video S1. Video footage showing Zodarion cesari attacking an Argentine ant, Linepithema humile in the field (Quicktime format). (MPG 850 kb)

Video S2. Video footage showing Zodarion cesari attacking an Argentine ant, Linepithema humile in the laboratory (Quicktime format). (MPG 1544 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • César Monzó
    • 1
    • 3
  • María Juan-Blasco
    • 1
  • Stano Pekár
    • 2
  • Óscar Mollá
    • 1
  • Pedro Castañera
    • 3
  • Alberto Urbaneja
    • 1
  1. 1.Unidad Asociada de Entomología IVIA-CIB CSIC, Centro de Protección Vegetal y BiotecnologíaInstituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Agrarias (IVIA)Moncada, ValenciaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Departamento de Biología de Plantas, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CIB)del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)MadridSpain

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