Presenter Information

Emma PriceFollow

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Matthew Persons

Start Date

28-4-2020 12:00 AM

End Date

28-4-2020 12:00 AM

Description

Male spiders are attracted to silk (sericophily) from unmated adult females. Detection of female silk induces localized searching behavior and male courtship displays but sericophily may occur in other contexts as well. Both males and females show genitalic development two instars prior to maturity and both sexes produce dragline silk as late-instar juveniles and adults. It is unclear if adolescent male and female spiders show sex-specific attraction to each other’s silk or if adult females are responsive to silk from adult or subadult males. We tested whether subadult male and female spiders were attracted to silk from conspecific subadult or adult males and females. We also tested adult male and female responses to silk from adult and subadults of the same or opposite sex. Using a 7x 4 design (28 unique treatments), we tested subadult and adult male and female attraction or repellency to pairs of silk substrates or no silk in the following seven treatment pair combinations: (1) adult male/adult female, (2) adult female/blank, (3) adult male/blank, (4) subadult male/subadult female, (5) subadult female/blank, (6) subadult male/blank, (7) blank/blank. For each spider, we measured time on each substrate within each pair over one hour. We found that adult male spiders were significantly attracted to female silk and avoided male silk while adult females were indifferent to silk from adult males and actively avoided silk from subadult males. Subadult females showed no responses to silk from males or females of any age class but subadult males showed attraction to silk from adult females and avoidance of silk from adult males. Collectively these results show that silk-mediated communication can occur prior to sexual maturity and that silk can serve as a repellent as well as an attractant depending on the sex and age of the spider.

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Apr 28th, 12:00 AM Apr 28th, 12:00 AM

Developmental and Sex Differences in Sericophily in the Wolf Spider Pardosa milvina

Male spiders are attracted to silk (sericophily) from unmated adult females. Detection of female silk induces localized searching behavior and male courtship displays but sericophily may occur in other contexts as well. Both males and females show genitalic development two instars prior to maturity and both sexes produce dragline silk as late-instar juveniles and adults. It is unclear if adolescent male and female spiders show sex-specific attraction to each other’s silk or if adult females are responsive to silk from adult or subadult males. We tested whether subadult male and female spiders were attracted to silk from conspecific subadult or adult males and females. We also tested adult male and female responses to silk from adult and subadults of the same or opposite sex. Using a 7x 4 design (28 unique treatments), we tested subadult and adult male and female attraction or repellency to pairs of silk substrates or no silk in the following seven treatment pair combinations: (1) adult male/adult female, (2) adult female/blank, (3) adult male/blank, (4) subadult male/subadult female, (5) subadult female/blank, (6) subadult male/blank, (7) blank/blank. For each spider, we measured time on each substrate within each pair over one hour. We found that adult male spiders were significantly attracted to female silk and avoided male silk while adult females were indifferent to silk from adult males and actively avoided silk from subadult males. Subadult females showed no responses to silk from males or females of any age class but subadult males showed attraction to silk from adult females and avoidance of silk from adult males. Collectively these results show that silk-mediated communication can occur prior to sexual maturity and that silk can serve as a repellent as well as an attractant depending on the sex and age of the spider.

 

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