The Effect of Predator Hunger on Chemically Mediated Antipredator Responses and Survival in the Wolf Spider Pardosa milvina (Araneae: Lycosidae)


Matthew H. Persons, Biology Department, Susquehanna University, 514 University Avenue, Selinsgrove, PA 17870, USA.


The wolf spider Pardosa milvina exhibits effective antipredator behavior (reduced movement) in the presence of silk and excreta from a larger co-occurring predatory wolf spider Hogna helluo. As the quantity and quality of the silk and excreta may vary with the hunger state of the predator, we tested if chemical cues from a hungry vs. satiated H. helluo affected the activity level and survival of P. milvina. Pardosa milvina response was measured on substrates containing chemical cues from (1) a satiated H. helluo, (2) a H. helluo that had been withheld food for 2 wk, (3) cues from adult domestic crickets (Acheta domesticus), or (4) a blank test substrate (20 replicates/treatment). Pardosa milvina activity level was recorded on each substrate over a 30-min period using video-tracking equipment (Videomex-I®; Columbus Instruments, Columbus, OH, USA). We then measured P. milvina survival in the presence of hungry or satiated H. helluo on cues from a hungry H. helluo, satiated H. helluo, or a blank control (2 × 3 design). Pardosa milvina significantly reduced activity in the presence of H. helluo cues and showed significantly less activity in the presence of cues from a hungry H. helluo compared with a satiated one. Cue type and predator hunger state significantly affected P. milvina survival in the presence of live predators. However, cues from hungry vs. satiated H. helluo resulted in no difference in P. milvina survival. Pardosa milvina can discriminate between hungry vs. satiated predators based on silk and excreta cues alone, but differences in behavior as a result of this discrimination did not translate into increased survival in the presence of a live predator.