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Webs in vitro and in vivo: spiders alter their orb-web spinning behavior in the laboratory Andrew Sensenig1,3
 

Summary: Webs in vitro and in vivo: spiders alter their orb-web spinning behavior in the laboratory
Andrew Sensenig1,3
, Ingi Agnarsson1,2
, Taylor M. Gondek1
and Todd A. Blackledge1
: 1
Department of Biology and
Integrated Bioscience Program, University of Akron, Akron, Ohio 44325-3908, USA; 2
Department of Biology,
University of Puerto Rico, PO Box 23360, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00931-3360, USA
Abstract. Many studies of the elegant architectures of orb webs are conducted in controlled laboratory environments
that remove environmental variability. The degree to which spider behavior in these circumstances resembles that of
spiders in the wild is largely unknown. We compared web architecture and silk investment of furrowed orb weavers
Larinioides cornutus (Clerck 1757) building webs in laboratory cages and spinning webs on fences in the field and found
significant differences. The volume of major ampullate silk in radii was 53% lower in cage webs, primarily because the silk
was 50% thinner, but also because spiders tended to spin 14% fewer radii than in fence webs. Cage spiders also invested
about 40% less flagelliform silk and aggregate glue in the capture spiral, although the difference was not statistically
significant, a trend primarily driven by a decrease in the length of the glue-coated capture spiral. These patterns were
consistent with spiders reducing silk investment when building at new web sites while they assessed insect abundance.
Differences in the type of substrate for web attachment, amount of available space, and condition may also have influenced

  

Source: Agnarsson, Ingi - Department of Biology, Universidad de Puerto Rico

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine