Reeling in the prey

fishing behaviour in an orb web spider

Dinesh Rao, Horacio Tapia-McClung, Ajay Narendra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

When an insect is intercepted by a spider web, spiders quickly locate the prey and run towards it. Once they make contact with the prey, they immobilise it and retrieve it to the centre of the web or the retreat for consumption. However, in rare circumstances, the spider can also pull the prey towards itself either while running to the prey or from a stationary position, a behaviour termed as 'reeling'. Reeling is paradoxical as it can lead to web deformation or damage, thereby jeopardising future foraging success. Reeling may increase the retention time for heavier prey or information acquisition with respect to the prey's identity, especially when these prey can cause damage to either the web or the spider itself. We explored the function of reeling behaviour in a neotropical orb web spider Verrucosa arenata We show that spiders performed reeling behaviour irrespective whether they were approaching heavy or light prey, but they changed their trajectories of approach. Spiders approached heavier prey more slowly than light prey and they showed a significantly higher frequency of change in velocity. We discuss these findings in the context of prey capture strategies and prey recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjeb213751
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalThe Journal of experimental biology
Volume222
Issue number24
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

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.

Keywords

  • Spider web
  • Locomotion
  • Predator–prey interactions

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Reeling in the prey: fishing behaviour in an orb web spider'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this