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Ecological Research

, Volume 19, Issue 6, pp 633–643 | Cite as

Prey use by web-building spiders: stable isotope analyses of trophic flow at a forest-stream ecotone

  • Chika KATO
  • Tomoya IWATAEmail author
  • Eitaro WADA
Original Articles

A forest-stream trophic link was examined by stable carbon isotope analyses which evaluated the relationship of aquatic insects emerging from a stream to the diets of web-building spiders. Spiders, aquatic and terrestrial prey, and basal resources of forest and stream food webs were collected in a deciduous forest along a Japanese headwater stream during May and July 2001. The δ13C analyses suggested that riparian tetragnathid spiders relied on aquatic insects and that the monthly variation of such dependence is partly associated with the seasonal dynamics of aquatic insect abundance in the riparian forest. Similarly, linyphiid spiders in the riparian forest exhibited δ13C values similar to aquatic prey in May. However, their δ13C values were close to terrestrial prey in both riparian and upland (150 m away from the stream) forests during June to July, suggesting the seasonal incorporation of stream-derived carbon into their tissue. In contrast, araneid spiders relied on terrestrial prey in both riparian and upland forests throughout the study period. These isotopic results were consistent with a previous study that reported seasonal variation in the aquatic prey contribution to total web contents for each spider group in this forest, implying that spiders assimilate trapped prey and that aquatic insect flux indeed contributes to the energetics of riparian tetragnathid and linyphiid spiders.

Key words

adult aquatic insects forest-stream linkages riparian web-building spiders stable carbon isotope ratios 

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Copyright information

© Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Ecological ResearchKyoto UniversityOtsu, ShigaJapan
  2. 2.Research Institute for Humanity and NatureKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Ecosocial System EngineeringUniversity of YamanashiKofu, YamanashiJapan

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