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Predator-prey interactions between web-invading jumping spiders and Argiope appensa (Araneae, Araneidae), a tropical orb-weaving spider



A range of web-invading jumping spiders with different predatory strategies was tested with A. appensa in the laboratory: Mimetus maculosus (Mimetidae), Pholcus phalangioides (Pholcidae), Taieria erebus (Gnaphosidae), and 11 species of salticids. Spiders that are known to specialize at web-invading, either by leaping into webs or by walking slowly into webs and practising aggressive mimicry, captured A. appensa; three salticid species not known to be web-invaders never did. Web-invaders that practised aggressive mimicry were more efficient than were species that only leapt into webs. Portia fimbriata from Queensland was the most consistent at using aggressive mimicry and was also the most efficient at catching A. appensa. Web-invaders that were more efficient at catching A. appensa were also better able to avoid setting off pumping, a special defence behaviour used by A. appensa. Portia fimbriata from Queensland was especially efficient at avoiding setting off pumping: P. fimbriata more consistently than other Portia made its final approach toward A. appensa by coming down from above the web on a dragline and making minimal contact with the web. An experiment, in which A. appensa was artificially induced to pump whenever the predator was near, provided additional evidence that pumping is effective in defending A. appensa against web-invaders.

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