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[Communicative & Integrative Biology 2:6, 1-5; November/December 2009]; 2009 Landes Bioscience 1 Communicative & Integrative Biology 2009; Vol. 2 Issue 6
 

Summary: [Communicative & Integrative Biology 2:6, 1-5; November/December 2009]; 2009 Landes Bioscience
1 Communicative & Integrative Biology 2009; Vol. 2 Issue 6
Identifying the mechanisms driving adaptive radiations is key
to explaining the diversity of life. The extreme reliance of spiders
upon silk for survival provides an exceptional system in which
to link patterns of diversification to adaptive changes in silk use.
Most of the world's 41,000 species of spiders belong to two apical
lineages of spiders that exhibit quite different silk ecologies,
distinct from their ancestors. Orb spiders spin highly stereotyped
webs that are suspended in air and utilize a chemical glue to
make them adhesive. RTA clade spiders mostly abandoned silk
capture webs altogether. We recently proposed that these two
clades present very different evolutionary routes of achieving the
same key innovation--escape from the constraints imposed by
spinning webs that contain a relatively costly type of physically
adhesive cribellate silk. Here, we test the prediction that orb
and RTA clade spiders are not only more diverse, but also have
higher fecundity than other spiders. We show that RTA clade
spiders average 23% higher fecundity and orb spiders average
123% higher fecundity than their ancestors. This supports a

  

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

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine