Responses of an araneophagic assassin bug, Stenolemus bituberus, to spider draglines

Anne E. Wignall, Phillip W. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


1. Animals, as they move through their environment, leave traces of their passage that can be informative to others and convey significant advantages to the animal producing them. However, such traces may also reveal presence, location or identity to enemies. 2. We studied an araneophagic ('spider-eating') assassin bug, Stenolemus bituberus (Heteroptera, Reduviidae), testing whether it associated with areas containing chemotactile traces (e.g. draglines, excreta) left behind by nine sympatric spider species. Stenolemus bituberus were presented with a choice between a substrate containing draglines and a clean substrate. Each hour, for a duration of 12 h, we recorded which substrate was occupied. 3. Stenolemus bituberus tended to associate especially with draglines left by spiders from the genus Achaearanea, their most common prey in nature. 4. These results suggest that S. bituberus exploits draglines from these spiders as cues for indicating prey presence. We also found an increasing tendency to associate with draglines from some spider species through the day, which may be related to circadian patterns or slower response times of some individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-420
Number of pages6
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009


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