A natural history of web decorations in the St Andrew's Cross spider (Argiope keyserlingi)

Dinesh Rao*, Ken Cheng, Marie E. Herberstein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A long-running debate in the spider literature concerns the function of the extra silk decorations in some spider webs. These decorations are appended to the web and constitute a highly visible signal, which is inconsistent with the trend towards web invisibility. Despite the sustained attention of researchers, the exact function of these decorations is yet to be understood. While most studies have focussed on testing particular hypotheses, there has been a dearth of natural history data regarding web decorations in field conditions. In this study we present baseline data regarding the influence of seasonality, microhabitat characteristics and ecology on the presence of web decorations in an Australian orb web spider, Argiope keyserlingi. In particular, we show that there is preference among spiders to build their webs between bushes and to face the south-east, but this preference does not influence decoration building.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Zoology
Volume55
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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