Prey classification by an araneophagic ant-like jumping spider (Araneae: Salticidae)

X. J. Nelson, R. R. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


What to attack is one of the most basic decisions predators must make, and these decisions are reliant upon the predator's sensory and cognitive capacity. Active choice of spiders as preferred prey, or araneophagy, has evolved in several distantly related spider families, including jumping spiders (Salticidae), but has never been demonstrated in ant-like jumping spiders. We used prey-choice tests with motionless lures to investigate prey-choice behaviour in Myrmarachne melanotarsa, an East African ant-like salticid that normally lives in aggregations and often associates with other spider species. We show that M. melanotarsa chooses spiders as prey in preference to insects and, furthermore, discriminates between different types of spiders. Myrmarachne melanotarsa's preferred prey were juvenile hersiliids and its second most preferred were other salticids. To date, all documented examples of araneophagic salticids have been from the basal subfamily Spartaeinae. Myrmarachne melanotarsa is the first non-spartaeine and also the first ant-like salticid for which araneophagy has been demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-179
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Zoology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • Mimicry
  • Myrmarachne
  • Myrmecomorphy
  • Predation
  • Prey choice
  • Prey preference


Dive into the research topics of 'Prey classification by an araneophagic ant-like jumping spider (Araneae: Salticidae)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this