Spiders, the most specious taxon of predators, have evolved an astounding range of predatory strategies, including group hunting, specialized silk traps, pheromone-loaded bolas, and aggressive mimicry. Spiders that hunt prey defended with behavioral, mechanical, or chemical means are under additional selection pressure to avoid injury and death. Ants are considered dangerous because they can harm or kill their predators, but some groups of spiders, such as the Theridiidae, have a very high diversification of ant-hunting species and strategies [J. Liu et al., Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 94, 658–675 (2016)]. Here, we provide detailed behavioral analyses of the highly acrobatic Australian ant-slayer spider, Euryopis umbilicata (Theridiidae), that captures much larger and defended Camponotus ants on vertical tree trunks. The hunting sequence consists of ritualized steps performed within split seconds, resulting in an exceptionally high prey capture success rate.
|Number of pages||3|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Early online date||19 Sept 2022|
|Publication status||Published - 4 Oct 2022|
Bibliographical noteCopyright the Author(s) 2022. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.