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1 January 2008 Refugia Preferences by the Spiders Loxosceles reclusa and Loxosceles laeta (Araneae: Sicariidae)
Richard S. Vetter, Michael K. Rust
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A variety of refugia were offered to different instars of brown recluse spiders, Loxosceles reclusa Gertsch and Mulaik, and a South American recluse spider, L. laeta (Nicolet), to determine whether they preferred certain types of refugia spaces. Variables included (1) crevice widths ranging from 3.2 to 21 mm, (2) horizontal and vertical orientations, and (3) new refugia or refugia that had silk deposited by a previous conspecific resident. An additional 30-d assay with similar-sized refugia studied each species’ propensity for site fidelity or movement among refugia. L. reclusa preferred crevice widths ≥9 mm with no correlation of body size to crevice width, whereas L. laeta preferred crevice sizes ≥6.4 mm with a marginally significant correlation between crevice width and body size. Both species preferred (1) vertical instead of horizontal-oriented refugia and (2) refugia with conspecific silk compared with previously uninhabited refugia. There was no significant difference between the species in their propensity to move among refugia in the 30-d trial; however, both species had individuals that were always found in the same refugium for the entire assay and individuals changing refugia every 2–3 d. The propensity to switch refugia was not affected by the degree of starvation for the period tested as was initially hypothesized. The possible implications of this research toward developing novel control measures for Loxosceles spiders are discussed.

Richard S. Vetter and Michael K. Rust "Refugia Preferences by the Spiders Loxosceles reclusa and Loxosceles laeta (Araneae: Sicariidae)," Journal of Medical Entomology 45(1), 36-41, (1 January 2008).[36:RPBTSL]2.0.CO;2
Received: 17 May 2007; Accepted: 1 September 2007; Published: 1 January 2008

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brown recluse spider
spider control
urban entomology
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