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23 November 2022 The primary webs of Uloboridae (Araneae)
William G. Eberhard, Samuel Zschokke
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“Primary” webs of uloborids have large numbers of very fine lines and usually lack sticky cribellum silk. This paper reviews their taxonomic distribution (19 species in 5 genera) and the ontogenetic stages in which primary webs are built (spiderlings newly emerged from the egg sac, older juveniles, mature males, and normal and senile females), expands the knowledge of construction behavior, and describes several previously unnoticed design details. Primary webs differ from typical uloborid orbs in several ways: large numbers of fine radial and non-radial lines; facultative hub removal and replacement; usually closely spaced temporary spiral loops; and lines beyond the frame lines. Construction of supplemental radii in primary webs is distinctive in several respects: break and reel construction; tendencies to lay successive radii either on opposite sides of the web or close together in the same sector; high frequencies of aborted trips from the hub to the frame; production of multiple lines during a single trip from the hub to the frame and back; long pauses during the production of single radii; and variation in the sequences in which radial lines are added to a given sector. Some aspects of primary web construction resemble araneoid rather than typical uloborid behavior. The relation between primary webs and the evolution of orb webs, and the mechanism that spiders use to produce abundant non-radial lines despite making only radial movements during web construction remain uncertain. We speculate that primary webs are favored when spiders are unable to afford the costs of producing cribellate silk for a typical orb.

William G. Eberhard and Samuel Zschokke "The primary webs of Uloboridae (Araneae)," The Journal of Arachnology 50(3), 335-350, (23 November 2022).
Received: 17 January 2022; Accepted: 22 April 2022; Published: 23 November 2022
Behavioral ontogeny
construction behavior
costs of cribellum silk
Orb web evolution
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