Choosing Hunting Sites: Web Site Preferences of the Orb Weaver Spider, Neoscona crucifera, Relative to Light Cues
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Field experiments carried out on the nocturnal orb weaver spider, Neoscona crucifera (Aranea: Araneidae), found in deciduous hardwood forests suggest that lighted areas where prey densities are elevated provide cues used by the spiders to rank optimal foraging sites. Specifically, experiments were conducted to test whether spiders exhibited preferences for lighted areas where prey densities are high, maximizing their energy intake per unit of foraging time, and minimizing energy expended on web building. Incandescent light bulbs of 4–60 W were used to influence prey densities, and results indicate that when given a choice of brighter versus darker foraging areas, spiders seek lighted areas where prey densities are high. In addition, results support the hypothesis that the size and time of web construction are drastically reduced in brighter situations.
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