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2003. The Journal of Arachnology 31:344349 SPIDER WEBS AS HABITAT PATCHES--THE DISTRIBUTION
 

Summary: 344
2003. The Journal of Arachnology 31:344­349
SPIDER WEBS AS HABITAT PATCHES--THE DISTRIBUTION
OF KLEPTOPARASITES (ARGYRODES, THERIDIIDAE) AMONG
HOST WEBS (NEPHILA, TETRAGNATHIDAE)
Ingi Agnarsson: Systematic Biology­Entomology, E-530, Smithsonian Institution,
NHB-105, PO Box 37012, Washington, D.C. 20013-7012 & Department of
Biological Sciences, George Washington University, Washington DC, 20052 USA
ABSTRACT. Most adult golden orb weavers (Nephila clavipes) have kleptoparasites of the genus Ar-
gyrodes in their webs. The kleptoparasitic load correlates positively with web size. Clustered (intercon-
nected) webs have a more predictable number of kleptoparasites than do solitary webs, but there is no
difference in the mean number of kleptoparasites between the two. From the view of the kleptoparasite,
host webs are habitat patches or islands. Isolated webs show characteristics of small patches, where web
size is a poor indicator of kleptoparasite number and variation is high. The distribution of kleptoparasites
in clustered webs, on the other hand, seems to fit the ``ideal free distribution'' where web size nearly
entirely predicts kleptoparasitic load. Thus clustered webs, as a habitat patch, are more than merely the
combination of their parts. The predictability of kleptoparasite load in clustered webs may be a function
of the stability (longevity) of those habitat patches, and ease of colonization, as neighboring webs act as
sources.
Keywords: Habitat islands, habitat stability, ideal free distribution, orb web, patch connectivity

  

Source: Agnarsson, Ingi - Department of Biology, Universidad de Puerto Rico
Hormiga, Gustavo - Department of Biological Sciences, George Washington University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology