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Stick insects (Phasmida) as prey of spiders: size, palatability and defence mechanisms in feeding tests


The maximum body length of the phasmid Carausius morosus which the ctenid spider Cupiennius salei can overwhelm is 2–3x larger than the length of crickets. Eight phasmid species were offered to Cupiennius salei in feeding tests. Among them, Carausius morosus was raised on 4 different food plants. All species of prey items were accepted by the spider predator very readily (>80%). This indicates that phasmids are a highly palatable prey group for spiders. The possible importance of chemical defence and its obvious lack under laboratory conditions are discussed.

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Nentwig, W. Stick insects (Phasmida) as prey of spiders: size, palatability and defence mechanisms in feeding tests. Oecologia 82, 446–449 (1990).

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Key words

  • Phasmida
  • Spiders
  • Araneae
  • Ctenidae
  • Feeding tests