Monday, December 11, 2006 - 10:47 AM

An investigation of step pattern and diversity in silk spinning embiids (Order Embioptera)

Jennifer Davila, and Janice Edgerly-Rooks, Santa Clara University, Department of Biology, Alumni Science 244, Santa Clara, CA

Embiids (Order Embioptera) are known for their ability to spin silk with their front feet. They dwell in silken structures that range in complexity and exposure; for example, some spin extensive sheets of silk onto the bark of trees while others line crevices with silk deep within the soil. We will present a method for quantifying and comparing the pattern of stepping while spinning in embiids from a variety of taxonomic families. We will also present a test of the hypothesis that spinning style reflects the embiidís lifestyle. One prediction is that embiids living more exposed to abiotic and biotic threats (such as for large-bodied, arboreal embiids) would exhibit more complex spinning behavior. In contrast, embiids that rely more on substrate material for protection will spin more simply as they stitch leaves together or line their burrows with silk.

Species 1: Embioptera Clothodidae Antipaluria urichi
Species 2: Embioptera Oligotomidae Oligotoma nigra
Species 3: Embioptera Anisembiidae Saussurembia davisi

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