To kill or be killed: predatory behaviour of an araneophagic assassin bug, Stenolemus bituberus (Heteroptera, Reduviidae)

Anne Elizabeth Wignall, Phillip Taylor

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


    Web-invading araneophagic predators hunt a dangerous prey, and thus risk becoming the hunted rather than the hunter. As a result, these predators require considerable skill when hunting. An Australian araneophagic assassin bug, Stenolemus bituberus (Heteroptera, Reduviidae), is known to hunt a wide range of spiders by invading their webs. We observed the predatory behaviour of S. bituberus hunting 5 species of sympatric spider: Achaearanea sp. (Theridiidae), Achaearanea extridium (Theridiidae), Badumna longinqua (Desidae), Pholcus phalangioides (Pholcidae) and Uloboridae sp., all of which constitute a part of the natural prey range of S. bituberus. Stenolemus bituberus utilises two distinct predatory strategies whilst hunting these spiders: (1) luring, wherein S. bituberus manipulates the silk of the spider webs, appearing to attract the resident spider within attacking range; and (2) stalking, in which S. bituberus stealthily approaches and attacks the resident spider. We propose that the luring strategy adopted by S. bituberus may be a form of vibratory aggressive mimicry, a hypothesis that we are currently testing using a combination of comparative and playback experimental techniques.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    EventXXX International Ethological Conference - Halifax, Novia Scotia, Canada
    Duration: 15 Aug 200723 Aug 2007


    ConferenceXXX International Ethological Conference
    CityHalifax, Novia Scotia, Canada


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