Communication with Chemicals: Pheromones and Spiders



Communication occurs when one individual, the sender, changes the behaviour of another individual, the receiver, indirectly by providing it with a special stimulus, the signal (see J.R. Krebs and Dawkins 1984; Jackson 1982a; W.J. Smith 1977). During intraspecific interactions, spiders employ a wide variety of signals which may be exchanged over chemical, visual, vibratory, tactile or auditory sensory channels. Chemical signals, or semiochemicals, appear to be the most primitive mode of communication in the arachnids and have probably been retained in some form in all spider families. We will not attempt to provide a comprehensive review of work which has been done on spider semiochemicals (see Tietjen and Rovner 1982), but instead we will emphasize more recent work on pheromones from our own laboratory. The term pheromone is used to describe olfactory and contact chemicals that are used during intraspecific interactions.


Courtship Display Conspecific Female Intraspecific Interaction Female Spider Hunting Spider 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zoology DepartmentUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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