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Sex-Specific Response of Pardosa milvina (Araneae: Lycosidae) to Experience with a Chemotactile Predation Cue



Michael I. Sitvarin, Department of Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45046, USA.



Predators frequently leave behind chemical information (i.e., semiochemicals such as pheromones or kairomones) that can be detected by their prey and used to avoid areas where predators are likely present. Prey that have interacted indirectly with predators via chemical information thus may gain insight into their risk of being consumed that naïve individuals lack. Pardosa milvina (Araneae: Lycosidae) is a chemosensitive wolf spider that shows adaptive responses to chemotactile cues deposited by the larger wolf spider Tigrosa helluo. We raised offspring from P. milvina to examine the effect of experience with a predation cue on activity, foraging, and antipredator behavior. Spiders differed in activity and foraging behavior across ontogeny and between sexes, but there was no effect of experience with a predation cue. However, a sex-specific effect of experience was found in antipredator behavior. Male spiders, but not females, used experience with a predator cue to increase their survival in the presence of a live predator. Specifically, naïve males were attacked sooner than experienced males, indicating that prior exposure to predator cues can modify Pardosa antipredator behavior. Intersexual differences in how spiders respond to experience with a predation cue likely reflect the risk of predation faced by males and females in nature.