Overview of SPIDER ECOLOGY
How Many Species of Insects and Other Terrestrial Arthropods Are There on Earth?
While the experiment was carefully controlled and well-executed, there are some differences between naturally-occurring spider colonies in arid and wet environments.Spider colonies in arid environments are 40% larger than their wet counterparts, but the individual spiders are themselves smaller.In addition, wet environment colonies have a larger proportion of bold individuals than arid colonies (5.4% compared to 3.6%).Because the authors set up equal colony sizes in the two different habitats (as any scientist should do to ensure a good experiment), they may have affected the natural dynamics of these spiders.
This paper and the experiments within have shown that the leader-follower dynamic is dependent not on the strength of a bold and influential leader, but on the willingness of the shy followers to be influenced.While social spiders differ from other organisms in many respects, it is interesting to think what this could mean for the rest of the animal kingdom.We tend to think of the strong and charismatic leader of a group as the most important part of the equation, but it may be that their influence only matters because the followers are “looking” for some direction in their own lives.
What Is the Prey in an Ecosystem?
The varieties of spiders living across the globe inhabit many different environments and have adapted to a number of pressures.Many of these are prey-related, while others are environmental.Spider adaptations have allowed these organisms to hunt, live and procreate to become successful predators.
Why Do Zipper / Writing Spiders Make “Zippers? / Writings” in Their Web?
Spiders that have the Stabilimenta are active during the day and tend to have their webs just hanging out in the open.Furthermore – they don’t build their web anew every day like other spiders.
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Foraging patterns were determined for three orb-weaving spiders in several geographical locations varying in percent cover by herbaceous vegetation.Argiope trifasciata was the most common species in early successional habitats, while both Argiope aurantia and Araneus trifolium were more common in wetter, more herbaceous sites.Discriminant analysis revealed that web height selected for webs and body size were the variables that explained most of the variation among populations in foraging patterns.Argiope aurantia forages lowest in vegetation, A.trifasciata at intermediate heights, and A.trifolium near the top of the vegetation.The body size sequence is reversed.Web radius, spider size, and web height appear to explain much of the variation in abundance and size of prey in webs.Species foraging higher in the vegetation take more winged prey, while larger species foraging lower in the vegetation tend to take larger, jumping prey like acridids.Comparison of prey in webs with field estimates of potential prey suggests that orb-weavers select large insect prey.Inferential evidence indicates that interspecific competition may be responsible for the divergence in foraging patterns among species reported here.However, field manipulative experiments have not yet indicated that competition among orb-weavers is severe.