Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 197–218

Factors Influencing Site Abandonment and Site Selection in a Sit-and-Wait Predator: A Review of Pit-Building Antlion Larvae


There is a large body of evidence indicating that predator behavior may strongly influence patterns and processes at the population and community level. Site selection is a major component of fitness in sit-and-wait predators, especially when relocation is rare. Although several review articles dealt with these issues in web-building spiders, this is the first attempt to summarize the effects of biotic and abiotic factors on site selection and relocation in another group of sit-and-wait predators, the pit-building antlions (Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae). Our synthesis shows that prey abundance may have relatively little effect on pit relocation and that physical properties of the habitat or competition often override its effect. We suggest that owing to a variety of constraints such as physiological constraints or difficulties in assessing site quality, site selection and relocation are not necessarily optimal and thus food intake rate is not maximized. We call for a multi-factorial study on a single species in order to pinpoint the dominant factors and to assess to what extent they influence site selection and relocation. We conclude by proposing new research directions, such as studying whether pit relocation is an adaptive response, when controlling for possible phylogenetic effects.


antlions spiders sit-and-wait predators habitat selection optimal foraging foraging mode 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Life SciencesBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer ShevaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Life SciencesBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer ShevaIsrael

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