Detection of Prey by a Spider that Aggressively Mimics Pheromone Blends


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Abstract

Adult female bolas spiders have a unique hunting tactic that combines aggressive chemical mimicry of the sex pheromone blends of their prey moths with a specialized weapon (the bolas) and behaviors to capture attracted male moths. This report shows that female bolas spiders can release the attractive allomone before they make the bolas and that females detect moth wing vibrations from attracted prey. In response to this detection, females initiate the construction of a bolas. This ability to sample for prey presence may allow this predator to adapt its hunting activity to the temporal and spatial availability of its prey and, thereby, may reduce the constraints associated with extreme prey specialization.

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