Zoological Studies

Vol. 58, 2019

(update: 2019.02.12; 02.25)

Effect of Kleptoparasitic Ants on the Foraging Behavior of a Social Spider (Stegodyphus sarasinorum Karsch, 1891)

Ovatt Mohanan Drisya-Mohan*, Pallath Kavyamol, and Ambalaparambil Vasu Sudhikumar


Centre for Animal Taxonomy and Ecology, Department of Zoology, Christ College, Irinjalakuda, Kerala, India. *Correspondence E-mail: drisyamohan2@gmail.com (Drisya-Mohan). E-mail (other authors): kavyamohan5540@gmail.com (Kavyamol), avsudhi@rediffmail.com (Sudhikumar)

Received 23 February 2018 / Accepted 23 December 2018
Communicated by John Wang

The term kleptoparasitism is used to describe the stealing of nest material or prey of one animal by another. Foraging and food handling behaviors of social spiders increase the vulnerability to kleptoparasitism. Kleptoparasites of the social spider Stegodyphus sarasinorum Karsch 1891 were identified based on the observations done in the field. Four species of spiders and two species of ants were observed as kleptoparasites and collected from the nest and webs of this social spider. The ants were found to be the most dominant among them. The influence of a facultative kleptoparasitic ant, Oecophylla smaragdina on the foraging behavior of S. sarasinorum was studied in laboratory conditions. The experiments suggested that the web building behavior of S. sarasinorum was influenced by the exposure to ants. However, exposure to ants caused no significant effect in the prey capture, handling time of prey and prey ingestion behaviors of the spider.

Key words: Social spider, Ecology, Kleptoparasites, Ants, Prey capturing behavior.

Citation: Drisya-Mohan OM, Kavyamol P, Sudhikumar A. 2019. Effect of kleptoparasitic ants on the foraging behavior of a social spider (Stegodyphus sarasinorum Karsch, 1891). Zool Stud 58:3. doi:10.6620/ZS.2019.58-03.