Non‑mimetic jumping spider responses towards three species of ants and their mimics

Vijayan, Sajesh and Balasubramanian, Pranav and Casiker, Chethana and Uma, Divya (2020) Non‑mimetic jumping spider responses towards three species of ants and their mimics. Journal of Ethology. pp. 1-8.

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Abstract

Ants and jumping spiders are prominent invertebrate predators in terrestrial ecosystems. Many jumping spiders are thought to avoid ants and their ant mimicking spiders, yet little is known if they discriminate among different species of ants or mimics. Chances of encountering multiple ants, and mimics all in a relatively short stretch of time and space is fairly common in the tropics, but how all these species interact with each other is not known. In a laboratory setup, we first examined the behavioral response of three ant species (Oecophylla smaragdina, the weaver ants; Camponotus sericeus, the golden backed carpenter ants, and Leptogenys processionalis, the procession ants), and their mimics in the genus Myrmarachne towards the non-mimetic jumping spider Plexippus paykulli. We then examined the response of P paykulli towards the three ant species, and their mimics. Our results suggest that weaver ants and procession ants are more aggressive towards non-mimetic jumping spiders as compared to golden backed ants. The three mimics also differed in their response towards the non-mimetic jumping spider: both weaver ant mimics and golden backed ant mimics charged at the non-mimetic jumping spiders as compared to the procession ant mimics. On the other hand, P. paykulli did not treat all ants similarly: while they looked, and approached the black procession ants by visual cues, they stayed away from weaver ants and golden backed ants. However, P. paykulli treated the three ant mimicking spiders similarly: while they looked at the mimics, they rarely approached or attacked them. Jumping spiders and ants are sympatric, and it may be advantageous to selectively avoid some ants over others. Studies, such as ours go a step closer in understanding multispecies predator–prey interactions.

Item Type: Article
Authors: Vijayan, Sajesh and Balasubramanian, Pranav and Casiker, Chethana and Uma, Divya
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ant mimicking spider, Weaver ant, Visual cues, Myrmarchane
Subjects: Natural Sciences > Life sciences; biology > Ecology
Divisions: Azim Premji University > School of Arts and Sciences
Full Text Status: Restricted
URI: http://publications.azimpremjifoundation.org/id/eprint/2379
Publisher URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10164-020-00674-y

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