The Influence of Predator Sex on Chemically Mediated Antipredator Response in the Wolf Spider Pardosa milvina (Araneae: Lycosidae)

Authors


Matthew H. Persons, Biology Department, Susquehanna University, 514 University Avenue, Selinsgrove, PA 17870, USA. E-mail: persons@susqu.edu

Abstract

The wolf spider, Pardosa milvina, reduces activity in the presence of chemical cues (silk and excreta) from a larger predatory wolf spider, Hogna helluo. Hogna is sexually dimorphic in body size and males and females differ in their propensity to attack prey. Consequently, each sex may present different levels of risk to Pardosa. We measured predation risk of Pardosa in the presence of male or female Hogna. We also assessed Pardosa antipredator responses and survival in the presence or absence of previously deposited chemical cues from male or female Hogna. In the absence of predator chemical cues, Pardosa survived significantly longer in the presence of male Hogna compared with female Hogna. We then assessed Pardosa survival in the presence of chemical cues from each Hogna sex by placing Pardosa in containers previously occupied by a female Hogna, a male Hogna, or no Hogna (control). We then introduced a female Hogna into each container and measured predation latency. Pardosa survived significantly longer in the presence of female and male cues compared with the control treatment. Median survival time of Pardosa was over four times longer on substrates with female Hogna cues compared with male cues, but this difference was not statistically significant. We tested Pardosa activity levels in the presence of chemical cues from male or female Hogna. Both Hogna sexes were maintained in separate containers after which we placed an adult female Pardosa in one of the containers or a blank control container. Pardosa significantly decreased activity in the presence of chemical cues from either sex relative to the control. Activity was lowest on substrates with female Hogna cues, but not significantly lower than on substrates with male Hogna cues. Results suggest that chemical information from male or female Hogna significantly reduces Pardosa activity which results in increased survival.

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