Event Title

Do spiders use plant essential oils as repellents or attractants for preferred vegetation?

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Matthew Persons

Start Date

23-4-2019 12:00 PM

End Date

23-4-2019 1:00 PM

Description

Spiders are associated with particular plant species but it remains unknown if volatile plant oils serve as spider attractants or repellents or if spiders use these airborne plant cues to find appropriate habitat. Tetragnatha laboriosa prefers tall grass in dry fields while T. viridis is found on conifer trees. The crab spider, Mecaphesa asperata chooses blooming flowers within these sites. Using proximity tests, we measured spider attraction or repellency to essential oils from Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus), Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), Black Spruce (Picea mariana), and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). Spiders of each species were tested for one hour across each of all four extracts. We found strong differences in extract repellency and attraction across species with significant species and extract type interactions. Our results indicate that plant volatiles may serve as important attractants and repellents for spiders and that spiders could use plant volatiles to locate preferred microhabitats.

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Apr 23rd, 12:00 PM Apr 23rd, 1:00 PM

Do spiders use plant essential oils as repellents or attractants for preferred vegetation?

Spiders are associated with particular plant species but it remains unknown if volatile plant oils serve as spider attractants or repellents or if spiders use these airborne plant cues to find appropriate habitat. Tetragnatha laboriosa prefers tall grass in dry fields while T. viridis is found on conifer trees. The crab spider, Mecaphesa asperata chooses blooming flowers within these sites. Using proximity tests, we measured spider attraction or repellency to essential oils from Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus), Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), Black Spruce (Picea mariana), and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). Spiders of each species were tested for one hour across each of all four extracts. We found strong differences in extract repellency and attraction across species with significant species and extract type interactions. Our results indicate that plant volatiles may serve as important attractants and repellents for spiders and that spiders could use plant volatiles to locate preferred microhabitats.