Self-made shelters protect spiders from predation

Manicom, Carryn, Schwarzkopf, Lin, Alford, Ross A., and Schoener, Thomas W. (2008) Self-made shelters protect spiders from predation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105 (39). pp. 14903-14907.

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Many animals modify their environments, apparently to reduce predation risk, but the success of such endeavors, and their impact on the density and distribution of populations, are rarely rigorously demonstrated. We staged a manipulative experiment to assess the effectiveness of self-made shelters by web spiders as protection from natural enemies. Scincid lizards were included or excluded from 21 replicated 200-m^2 plots, and spiders therein were classified as exposed or sheltered, depending on whether they were uncovered in their web or hidden in cocoons, leaves/debris, or burrows. We found that exposed spiders were greatly affected by the presence of predatory scincid lizards, whereas sheltered spiders were not. More specifically, lizards, which forage close to the ground, reduced the abundance of exposed spiders by two-thirds but had no effect on the abundance of sheltered spiders. Sheltered spiders were able to avoid predation and share space with lizards, suggesting that shelter construction is a mechanism for reducing predation risk and has important population consequences.

Item ID: 8468
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1091-6490
Keywords: food web; predation defence; lizards
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2010 01:55
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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