New papers

After more than a year of paper ping pong, I am pleased to announce that the jumping spider paper, mostly based on the work I did here as a post-doc is out.

Characterisation of Predator-Directed Displays in Tephritid Flies

Abstract

Flies of the family Tephritidae are known to perform a display in front of their salticid spider predators. This display involves extending the wings while the fly moves from side to side. The wings of many of fly species are banded, and in some species, these bands are thought to deter their predators by mimicking the leg patterns of salticids. However, as this display is also seen in non-mimicking flies, there is some uncertainty over the functional significance of these displays. In this study, we explored the efficacy of displays by the lightly banded but non-mimicking Mexican fruit fly (Anastrepha ludens) in deterring attacks by the salticids Paraphidippus aurantius and Phidippus bidentatus. We tested the effect of band visibility and the fly’s physiological condition on the production of these displays and the probability of attack by salticids. We filmed the interactions of flies and spiders and analysed fly displays in the presence of the salticid. We show that the fly’s display deters salticids and promotes the fly’s chances of survival and that the presence or absence of bands does not alter the possibility of attack. Flies fed on different quality diets showed similar rates of display. Our results suggest that tephritid flies deter attacks because of their display and not their appearance.

 

Also the Anelosimus paper is out as well,

Notes on the ecology and behavior of a subsocial spider Anelosimus baeza (Araneae: Theridiidae) in Mexico 

Abstract. Subsocial spiders are located on the continuum between solitary species and social species and are characterized by extended maternal care, some cooperation in foraging and colony activities and dispersal in order to found new colonies. In the genus Anelosimus (Araneae: Theridiidae), up to nine species are thought to be subsocial. One of these spiders, A. baeza Agnarsson (2006), is distributed across a large geographical range from Mexico to southern Brazil, and potential differences in behavior in different populations are unknown. We studied the ecology and behavior of a population of A. baeza in a cloud forest habitat in Mexico. We tracked the population for ten months, analyzed the degree of cooperation and the presence of associated species, and explored the settling decisions made by dispersing spiders. We show that the breeding season for A. baeza in Mexico differs from other populations elsewhere in South America. Using a kinematic diagram, we recorded the sequence of behaviors involved in subduing and feeding on a model prey species. Larger colonies harbored more associated species. Anelosimus baeza prefers to settle in locations that already contain conspecifics or silk. Our study demonstrates that A. baeza is a viable candidate for research into sociality in spiders and its geographical correlates.

 

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