Zoological Studies

Vol. 45 No. 1, 2006

Prey Type does not Determine Web Design in Two Orb-Weaving Spiders

Pavol Prokop1,2

1Department of Biology, Faculty of Education, University of Trnava, Priemyselna 4, PO Box 9, SK-91843 Trnava, Slovakia
2Institute of Zoology, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Dúbravská cesta 9, SK-84506 Bratislava, Slovakia

Pavol Prokop (2006) Two species of orb-weaving spiders, the diurnal Argiope bruennichi and the nocturnal Larinioides cornutus, differ in both morphology and time of foraging. I separately investigated the short-term effects of airborne vibrations of prey and prey capture experience on web design and on the likelihood of web building in laboratory conditions. The relationship between web design (especially mesh height) and prey length for both spider species was examined in the field. Neither airborne vibrations nor experience with specific prey affected web design. However, Larinioides delayed its web-building behavior in the presence of honeybees which can be considered a novel and/or potentially dangerous prey. Larinioides was less successful in attacking honeybees in comparison with Argiope, in both laboratory and field conditions. The expected positive relationship between large mesh height and slow-flying, large prey was found in neither the laboratory nor the field.

Key words: Orb-web spider, Larinioides cornutus, Argiope bruennichi, Web design, Foraging behavior.

*Correspondence: E-mail: Pavol.Prokop@savba.sk