A mass rearing method for the linyphiid spider species Erigone atra (Blackwall) (Araneae: Linyphiidae)


Author's address: Dr Axel Dinter (corresponding author), DuPont de Nemours (Deutschland) GmbH, DuPontStr 1, D-61352 Bad Homburg v.d.H., Germany. E-mail: axel.dinter@deu.dupont.com


Abstract:  A mass rearing method for Erigone atra (Blackwall) (Araneae: Linyphiidae) allowing continuous laboratory rearing is described. Twenty 1–2-day old spiderlings were kept together in plastic boxes, which were filled with soil containing a culture of the Collembola species, Lepidocyrtus lanuginosus (Gmelin) (Entomobryidae), and serving the spiders as a continuous available prey source. Once per week vestigial-wing fruit flies of Drosophila melanogaster Meigen (Diptera: Drosophilidae) were provided as additional prey. In addition, the rearing boxes were filled with wood-wool serving spiders as points of contact for their webs. After 3–5 weeks most of the spiderlings developed to adults, which were separated individually into glass tubes filled with soil and Collembola until all of them became adult. To produce a new generation of spiders 20–40 adult/subadult spiders originating from different mass rearing boxes were brought together and kept and fed in the same way as the spiderlings. Within a few days females started to produce eggsacs. The eggsacs were transferred into glass tubes filled with a layer of moist plaster of Paris until the spiderlings hatched, which were then bred as described above. Erigone atra was bred over 12 generations within a period of 2 years. The mean rearing success (from 1 to 2-day-old spiderlings to adults) was 59.3%. Decreasing rearing success, decrease of fecundity or decrease of adult spider size were not observed. Advantages and use of the mass rearing method are discussed in relation to rearing methods for other spiders.