Tuesday, 28 October 2003

This presentation is part of : Display Presentations, Section Cd. Behavior and Ecology

An investigation of the relationship between the tendency to produce silk and the tendency to share it in embiids (Order Embiidina)

Janice Edgerly-Rooks, Samantha Shenoy, and Vanessa Werner. Santa Clara University, Biology, 500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA

Embiids, also known as webspinners, spin silk domiciles and pathways that lead to food, usually lichens and algae (for arboreal species) or detritus (for leaf litter embiids). Using carbon dioxide output as a measure of metabolic cost, we determined that spinning is approximately twice as costly as resting for two species measured in the lab. For the one species that also walked around during the trials, Antipaluria urichi, spinning was half as costly as locomotion, which may reflect the fact that spinning requires two legs, whereas walking requires six. The amount of silk spun by individuals varied for three species that were given a chance to spin over 72h in empty containers. Individuals that spun the most were those that live exposed in the environment; those females that spun the least were of the more protected leaf-litter species (Australembia incompta) that use silk just to tie leaves into domiciles. However, when given dead leaves, the detritivore increased their silk production 50X suggesting that they require extraneous materials to begin construction of their dwellings. The tendency to spin was compared to the tendency to form aggregations. Those embiids that spun the most, were the most likely to settle near other individuals when given a chance to disperse. This suggests that sharing silk might be a benefit for those that require thick silk.

Species 1: Embiidina Clothodidae Antipaluria urichi (webspinner)
Species 2: Embiidina Notoligotomidae Notoligotoma hardyi
Species 3: Embiidina Australembiidae Australembia incompta
Keywords: colonial behavior

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