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Abstract

The present study explored the significance of life history constraints on patch residence strategy by using two congeneric web spider species living in the same habitat. Nephila maculata had a large body size but had a shorter developmental period compared with N. clavata, indicating that N. maculata should have a greater foraging efficiency to reach maturity and reproduce. Residence time at web-sites in N. maculata was shorter than that in N. clavata, irrespective of the season. However, supplementation of food to N. maculata increased residence time, suggesting that it searches web-sites with higher prey intake. Investment of web materials, an important trait influencing web relocation frequency, was not greater in N. maculata. In addition, microhabitat and prey size did not differ significantly after controlling for the effect of body size. Because N. maculata needs to attain a large body size in a shorter period of time, this species appears to take a risk of moving patches to seek high quality web-sites.