“Veils” Against Predators: Modified Web Structure of a Host Spider Induced by an Ichneumonid Parasitoid, Brachyzapus nikkoensis (Uchida) (Hymenoptera)


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Abstract

When the larva of Brachyzapus nikkoensis, a koinobiont ectoparasitoid of Agelena limbata forming a funnel web, is a penultimate instar, “veils” of very fine and dense threads covering the spider and parasitoid larva were observed in the tunnel of funnel web. As the veils are not formed until the parasitoid became penultimate instar and the parasitoid larvae are on active hosts at this stage, the veils are considered to be formed by the spider under the manipulation of the parasitoid larva. Removal of the veil indicated that penultimate larvae and pupae were more likely to fail to emerge in manipulated webs compared to the controls. The modified web seems resistant against predators and scavengers such as ants. This is the first record of web modification demonstrating its resistance to predators.

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