• spider;
  • Nephila pilipes;
  • Argyrodes flavescens;
  • prey-type preference;
  • kleptoparasitism

Spiders from the theridiid genus Argyrodes exhibit considerable variation in foraging tactics. However, little is known about the conditions under which Argyrodes spiders switch foraging tactics. Argyrodes flavescens (Pickard-Cambridge) is commonly found in the webs of another spider Nephila pilipes (Fabricius) in Singapore. In this study, a series of prey-choice tests were conducted for A. flavescens, both in the presence and absence of N. pilipes, to investigate the state-dependent prey type preference of A. flavescens. It was found that, in the absence of N. pilipes, well-fed A. flavescens took houseflies more than fruit flies, but starved A. flavescens took more fruit flies than houseflies. Whether N. pilipes spiders were present or absent, both well-fed and starved A. flavescens preferred living prey and rarely took wrapped prey of any kind. When well fed, A. flavescens rarely took mealworms. However, when starved, A. flavescens tended to take freshly captured prey, and also tended to feed together with N. pilipes on a housefly or mealworm captured by N. pilipes. Whether A. flavescens were absent or present, both well-fed and starved N. pilipes took mealworm larvae more often than they took houseflies, and they never attacked fruit flies. This is the first study to show that Argyrodes spiders alter their foraging tactics depending on hunger level, prey type, or the presence of the host. In doing so, Argyrodes spiders may maximize their energy gain and minimize predation risk in different circumstances.