Many paths, one destination: mapping the movements of a kleptoparasitic spider on the host’s web

Rogelio Rosales-García, Horacio Tapia-McClung, Ajay Narendra, Dinesh Rao*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Kleptoparasitic spiders live and forage in the webs of other spiders. Using vibratory cues generated by the host spider during prey capture, they leave their resting positions in the upper peripheries of the host web and move towards the centre of the web where they feed along with the host spider or steal small pieces of prey. While the triggers for initiating the foraging raids are known, there is little information about the fine-scale trajectory dynamics in this model system. We mapped the movement of the kleptoparasite Argyrodes elevatus in the web of the host Trichonephila clavipes. We filmed the movement of the kleptoparasite spiders and quantified the trajectory shape, speed, heading directions and path revisitation. Our results show that kleptoparasitic spider movement is spatially structured, with higher levels of speed at the peripheries and slower in the centre of the web. We found a high level of variation in trajectory shapes between individuals. We found that the majority of heading orientations were away from the hub suggesting that detouring or repeated approaches are an essential component of kleptoparasite movement strategies. Our results of the revisitation rate also confirm this pattern, where locations close to the hub were revisited more often than in the periphery. The kleptoparasite–host spider system is a promising model to study fine-scale movement patterns in small bounded spaces.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)293-301
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
    Issue number2
    Early online date13 Mar 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


    • Argyrodes
    • Dynamic time warp
    • Kleptoparasitism
    • Locomotion
    • Trajectory shape


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