Stabilimentum variations in Argiope versicolor (Araneae: Araneidae) from Singapore

Authors

  • Wee Khee Seah,

    1. Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260
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  • Daiqin Li

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 10 Kent Ridge Crescent, Singapore 119260
      *All correspondence to: Daiqin Li. E-mail: dbslidq@nus.edu.sg
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*All correspondence to: Daiqin Li. E-mail: dbslidq@nus.edu.sg

Abstract

Many orb-web building spiders add conspicuous, white silk decorations termed stabilimenta onto the central portion of the webs. Stabilimenta are known to vary greatly in form and quantity from species to species, and also within a species. In the present study, stabilimentum variations in form and quantity are described, and the factors influencing stabilimentum variations in Argiope versicolor from Singapore, in both the field and the laboratory, are examined. Our results from field survey and laboratory experiments show that: (1) the form and occurrence of stabilimenta varied with developmental stage of spiders: A. versicolor juveniles (body length: < 0.6 cm) built disc-like (discoid) stabilimenta while adults spun cross-like (cruciform) stabilimenta; (2) the quantity of stabilimenta (percentage of stabilimentum area covering the web to the web area) decreased with increasing web size and spider size; (3) light intensity affected the density and percentage cover of stabilimentum on the web: A. versicolor tend to build more and denser stabilimenta in dim conditions than in bright surroundings; (4) well-fed A. versicolor adults added more stabilimenta than starved spiders. These findings suggest that A. versicolor may adjust the frequency and quantity of stabilimenta to suit multiple functions, specifying the circumstances under which to use each function (conditional stabilimentum-building strategies).

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