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Background Pt. 1

Submitted by mmaliha on Sat, 11/03/2018 - 18:08

The feeding behavior of any species can tell us a lot about its metabolism, movement patterns, predatory instincts, and overall ecological impact on its surrounding biomass. Most species of spiders (order: Araneae) are predators, who feed on insects and small invertebrates through the synthesis of sticky webs. Their feeding pattern is mainly influenced by the size and shape of the prey and whether the spider has enough strength to overpower it: preys are supposed to be smaller than the spider’s body but larger than its head. Web-weaver spiders can also survive a long time without food due to spending minimal energy (reference.)

    Due to their unique metabolism and ability to survive without food for extended periods of time, the effect of long-term starvation has been widely studied in spiders. And, the results indicate that starvation still affects various spiders’ morphology, feeding behavior and movement patterns without causing prompt death. Southwestern longlegs spider, Physocyclus mexicanus, exhibit smaller body size, reduced weight, and smaller testis size under severe dietary restrictions (Wilson, 2014). Running crab spider, Philodromus rufus, feed at a higher rate after being starved (Haines and Sisojevic , 2012). The wolf spider, Pardosa agrestis, is more susceptible to cannibalistic tendencies when hungry (Samu et al., 1999). Food-limited wolf spider, Tigrosa helluo, show more locomotive activity than their satiated counterparts (Walker et al., 1999). And, spiders of various species show distinct aeronautic dispersal and ballooning movements after starvation (Mestre and Bonte, 2012; Weyman and Sunderland, 1994).