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10 August 2022 Frame line repair by the orb-weaver Micrathena duodecimspinosa (Araneae: Araneidae): possibly ancient behavior
William Eberhard
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Abstract

Spider webs in general and orb webs in particular are delicate, ephemeral structures that are frequently damaged in nature. Some orb weavers respond to damage by quickly “shoring up” their webs with non-sticky dragline silk. This study of how Micrathena duodecimspinosa (O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1890) shores up damaged frame lines shows that repairs were largely based on a single, repeated pattern of attachments. These movements are shared with the distantly related family Pholcidae, suggesting a possibly ancient origin. Spiders tended to initiate repairs at the lower edge of a damaged sector, probably to reduce the damage produced when the spider's own weight caused sticky lines in slack portions of the web to sag into and adhere to each other. Repairs of lateral frames recuperated capture area more successfully than did those of upper frames, probably because damage caused by the spider's own weight during repair was reduced.

William Eberhard "Frame line repair by the orb-weaver Micrathena duodecimspinosa (Araneae: Araneidae): possibly ancient behavior," The Journal of Arachnology 50(2), 181-190, (10 August 2022). https://doi.org/10.1636/JoA-S-21-008
Received: 30 January 2021; Accepted: 24 April 2021; Published: 10 August 2022
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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KEYWORDS
Behavioral evolution
damage from sagging
flexible construction behavior
orb web
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