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1 August 2006 QUANTITATIVE SHIFTS IN ORB-WEB INVESTMENT DURING DEVELOPMENT IN NEPHILA CLAVIPES (ARANEAE, NEPHILIDAE)
Linden Higgins
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Abstract

When there are direct conflicts in resource allocation to foraging effort versus growth and development, the relative allocation to foraging may change in a predictable manner with development. Orb-webs provide a physical record of resource allocation to foraging, and their synthesis requires the investment of physiologically important resources. Spiders in strongly seasonal habitats must complete development prior to the end of the season, and may be expected to alter foraging effort to maximize the probability of successful reproduction. Comparison of populations of the orb-weaving spider Nephila clavipes (Araneae, Nephilidae) in very seasonal versus less seasonal habitats allows testing for changes in allocation of resources to foraging effort during development. Orb-web size increases with increasing spider size, with little variation in slope among populations. However, in univoltine populations inhabiting strongly seasonal habitats, the size of the orb web is not a simple function of spider size: the rate of increase in orb-web size decelerates abruptly at a relatively small juvenile stage. Spiders in a less seasonal habitat did not decelerate foraging investment, and the pattern cannot be explained by changes in other aspects of orb-web structure. I postulate that the decline in relative investment into foraging is related to increased investment into juvenile female growth and development in circumstances where delayed maturation carries heavy fitness penalties.

Linden Higgins "QUANTITATIVE SHIFTS IN ORB-WEB INVESTMENT DURING DEVELOPMENT IN NEPHILA CLAVIPES (ARANEAE, NEPHILIDAE)," The Journal of Arachnology 34(2), 374-386, (1 August 2006). https://doi.org/10.1636/T04-53.1
Received: 19 August 2004; Published: 1 August 2006
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