Evidence for Territorial Behavior in a Burrowing Wolf Spider

Authors

  • Samuel D. Marshall

    Corresponding author
    1. Graduate Program in Ethology and Department of Zoology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
      Department of Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio 45056, USA
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    • 3

      Marshall, S. D. 1995: Evidence for territorial behavior in a burrowing wolf spider. Ethology 102, 32–39.


Department of Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio 45056, USA

Abstract

Evidence is presented for territorial behavior in a burrowing wolf spider, Geolycosa xera archboldi McCrone (Araneae, Lycosidae). These spiders live in burrows in the scrub habitats of central Florida, USA. Mean nearest-neighbor distances repeatedly approximate 30 cm. The constancy of this mean indicates that social spacing may be occurring. A test for perceptual range showed that G. xera can respond to potential prey at distances greater than 30 cm, indicating that the 30-cm nearest-neighbor distance does not represent a distance within which larger neighboring burrow-holders treat smaller neighboring conspecifics as food. Dyadic encounters in field enclosures showed that the distance at which neighbors would not be tolerated was within the observed mean nearest-neighbor distance. In these experimental tests for territorial behavior, smaller dyad members lost burrows significantly more often than larger dyad members.

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