Tuesday, 28 October 2003

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

Visual floral cues used by female crab spiders (Misumena vatia) to select hunting sites

Melanie Youngs and Tara Stephens. University of Guelph, 20 Scottsdale Dr, Guelph, ON, Canada

To maximize fitness, predators must develop foraging strategies that increase their energetic and nutrient gain while minimizing the costs associated with acquiring energetic resources. Ambush predators inhabiting patchy environments like Misumena vatia encounter a wide variety of potentially conflicting stimuli when deciding which patch to use. The objective of this study was to determine what visual floral cues adult M. vatia females use to select hunting sites in the absence of prey stimuli. Field-collected spiders from Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, were given a choice between their host flower and a flower that differed from their host flower in either shape (simple verses complex) or colour (yellow verses white). Results indicated that M. vatia females did not select their host flower nor select flowers based on colour more often then predicted by chance but they did show a significant preference for flowers with complex architecture (Canada goldenrod and narrow-leaved meadowsweet) over flowers with simple architecture (black-eyed Susan and oxeye daisy). Adult female crab spiders may select flowers based on shape because complex floral architectures allow for efficient predator evasion and relate to a higher frequency of insect visitation, resulting in greater hunting success and lifetime fitness.

Species 1: Araneae Thomisidae Misumena vatia (crab spider)
Keywords: patch choice

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