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1 April 2012 The effects of temperature on egg development and web site selection in Nephila clavipes
Clare C. Rittschof
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Temperature affects metabolic rate and egg development in mature female spiders. For temperate species, declining temperatures toward the end of the reproductive season may limit reproductive output, particularly for late-maturing females. Although spiders are known to alter their web-site preferences in response to temperature, it is unknown whether females can use web placement to overcome low temperatures that prohibit reproduction and thus extend their reproductive time frame. I surveyed web temperatures for female Nephila clavipes (Linneaus 1767) to compare female web sites and control sites at the beginning and end of the reproductive season in order to assess whether females change their web preferences in response to declining temperatures. Survey data showed that the web sites chosen by females at the end of the reproductive season have a higher minimum temperature than sites occupied during the early season. In a laboratory experiment, I addressed whether a low but biologically relevant temperature affects egg development and the female's ability to oviposit in N. clavipes. Females kept at 16° C failed to oviposit and showed signs of slowed egg development. Thus this preliminary study suggests that females may be able to protect themselves against temperatures that are prohibitively low for reproduction, but further experiments should explore the effects of temperature on egg development and web-site selection in this species.

Clare C. Rittschof "The effects of temperature on egg development and web site selection in Nephila clavipes," The Journal of Arachnology 40(1), 141-145, (1 April 2012).
Received: 9 May 2011; Published: 1 April 2012
behavioral thermoregulation
seasonal constraints
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