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Ecology, 88(8), 2007, pp. 20152023 2007 by the Ecological Society of America
 

Summary: Ecology, 88(8), 2007, pp. 2015­2023
Ó 2007 by the Ecological Society of America
MULTIPLE TECHNIQUES CONFIRM ELEVATIONAL DIFFERENCES IN
INSECT SIZE THAT MAY INFLUENCE SPIDER SOCIALITY
JENNIFER GUEVARA AND LETICIA AVILE´ S
Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4 Canada
Abstract. Social and subsocial spiders of the genus Anelosimus exhibit an altitudinal
pattern in their geographic distribution at tropical latitudes in the Americas. Social species,
which capture prey cooperatively, occur primarily in the lowland rain forest and are absent
from higher elevations, whereas subsocial species are common at higher elevations but absent
from the lowland rain forest. Previous studies have suggested that differences in the size of
potential insect prey along altitudinal gradients may explain this pattern as insects were
found to be, on average, larger in lowland rain forests than at higher elevations. These
studies, however, may have under-sampled the insect size composition of each habitat
because only one sampling technique was used. Using a number of collection methods we
sampled the insect size composition in the environments of social and subsocial spiders in
this genus. We found that the average insect size in lowland rain forest habitats was indeed
larger than at high-elevation cloud forests in eastern Ecuador. We also found that, even
though the various techniques differed in the size of the insects they captured (visual
searching and blacklighting yielding larger insects than beating, sweeping, or malaise

  

Source: Avilés, Leticia - Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology