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.
|Number of pages||1|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|
|Event||XXX International Ethological Conference - Halifax, Novia Scotia, Canada|
Duration: 15 Aug 2007 → 23 Aug 2007
|Conference||XXX International Ethological Conference|
|City||Halifax, Novia Scotia, Canada|
|Period||15/08/07 → 23/08/07|
Wignall, A. E., & Taylor, P. (2007). To kill or be killed: predatory behaviour of an araneophagic assassin bug, Stenolemus bituberus (Heteroptera, Reduviidae). 132-132. Abstract from XXX International Ethological Conference, Halifax, Novia Scotia, Canada, .