Prey-capture techniques and prey preferences of Corythalia canosa and Pystira orbiculata, ant-eating jumping spiders (Araneae, Salticidae)



Corythalia canosa from Florida is an unusual salticid because it is known to eat ants. This species' specialized behaviour for catching ants is described in detail for the first time and compared to its behaviour for catching other insects. Pystira orbiculata from Queensland is shown to be another ant-eating salticid, although its behaviour for catching ants seems less specialized than that of C. canosa. Three different types of tests of prey preference were carried out. In each type of test C. canosa and P. orbiculata took ants in preference to other insects. Another species of salticid, Trite planiceps from New Zealand, failed to eat ants in these tests, although T. planiceps often attacked then released the ants. Corythalia canosa's and P. orbiculata's preference for ants, and their prey-specific predatory behaviour for catching ants, are shown not to depend on prior experience with ants.