When prey bites back: an assassin bug that appears to mimic prey to hunt spiders

Anne Elizabeth Wignall, RW Mankin, Christopher Evans, Phillip Taylor

    Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


    Predators rely on sensory input to inform them about the presence of potential prey. However, this reliance ca leave predators vulnerable to exploitation by their own predators. Web-building spiders rely on vibrations in their webs to locate prey: several web-invading predators, including assassin bugs, appear to aggressively mimic the vibrations created by struggling prey in a web to lure the resident spider within range of an attack. We investigated whether the assassin bug Stenolemus bituberus, a web-invading araneophagic predator, aggressively mimics prey vibratins when hunting a common prey spider, Achaearanea sp.. Synchronised laser vibrometry and video recording techniques were used to record vibrations and behavior during 20 interactions of S. bituberus hunting Achaearanea sp., and 20 interactions each of two prey species entangled in the web. Vibrations created by struggling prey and hunting S. bituberus showed similarities, supporting the aggressive mimicry hypothesis. Playback experiments will be undertaken to test directly whether S. bituberus aggressively mimics prey to hunt web-building spiders.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)193-193
    Number of pages1
    JournalABS 2007: Contributed and Symposium Abstracts
    Publication statusPublished - 2007
    Event44th Annual Meeting of the Animal Behavior Society - Burlington, Vermont, USA
    Duration: 21 Jul 200725 Jul 2007


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