Navigation by Male Crab Spiders Misumenoides formosipes (Araneae: Thomisidae): Floral Cues May Aid in Locating Potential Mates
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The crab spider Misumenoides formosipes is an ambush predator whose males search for relatively sedentary females within a heterogeneous habitat. Females are receptive to mating immediately after their adult molt and a male biased adult sex ratio together with precopulatory guarding places a premium on male ability to locate females quickly. It is unknown what cues males use to find females; we report here on male movements in association with floral cues. Males in field trials moved towards inflorescences more frequently when both visual and chemical cues were available, than when chemical cues were eliminated. Males in lab trials chose an inflorescence over leaf substrates even in the absence of visual cues. These findings support the hypothesis that M. formosipes males could utilize floral chemistry as a navigational cue in mate searches.
KeywordsCrab spiders mate searches navigation floral cues olfaction
We wish to acknowledge Ball State University’s Department of Biology for providing access to the Cooper Field Area, Dr. Jim Jones for statistical support, John Taylor for field assistance, Ball State University’s Office of Academic Research and Sponsored Programs for financial support, and Chad Hoefler for providing insights on the research methods and helpful comments on the manuscript.
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