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Effects of Predation Risk on Vertical Habitat Use and Foraging of Pardosa milvina


Shawn M. Wilder, Department of Zoology, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA.


Animals face the risk of predation while engaging in regular activities, such as foraging, mate-seeking, and reproducing. In order to avoid predation, prey can modify behavior to prevent capture. Pardosa milvina may climb in response to chemotactile cues of Hogna helluo, a larger cooccurring wolf spider, to avoid predation. The purpose of this study was to test the effects of the location of predator cues on the climbing response of P. milvina and to test how this antipredator behavior affected foraging success. In experimental arenas, when cues were on the bottom of the containers, P. milvina moved upward, and when cues were on the walls, individuals moved downward. These results suggest that P. milvina respond to H. helluo cues with general avoidance and do not automatically climb in response to the cues. As H. helluo spend most of their time on the ground, P. milvina may avoid predation by spending more time climbing in areas with H. helluo cues. The presence of predator cues significantly decreased foraging by P. milvina. But within the predator cue treatments, climbing ability had no effect on foraging, possibly due to the short height of the feeding arenas. Future studies are needed to determine if climbing by P. milvina in response to cues of H. helluo has direct and indirect negative effects on herbivores in the field.