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Bourgeois Behavior and Freeloading in the Colonial Orb Web Spider Parawixia bistriata (Araneae, Araneidae)

Tom Wenseleers, Jonathan P. Bacon, Denise A. Alves, Margaret J. Couvillon, Martin Kärcher, Fabio S. Nascimento, Paulo Nogueira-Neto, Marcia Ribeiro, Elva J. H. Robinson, Adam Tofilski and Francis L. W. Ratnieks
The American Naturalist
Vol. 182, No. 1 (July 2013), pp. 120-129
DOI: 10.1086/670525
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/670525
Page Count: 10
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Bourgeois Behavior and Freeloading in the Colonial Orb Web Spider Parawixia bistriata (Araneae, Araneidae)
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Abstract

AbstractSpiders of the tropical American colonial orb weaver Parawixia bistriata form a communal bivouac in daytime. At sunset, they leave the bivouac and construct individual, defended webs within a large, communally built scaffolding of permanent, thick silk lines between trees and bushes. Once spiders started building a web, they repelled other spiders walking on nearby scaffolding with a “bounce” behavior. In nearly all cases (93%), this resulted in the intruder leaving without a fight, akin to the “bourgeois strategy,” in which residents win and intruders retreat without escalated contests. However, a few spiders (6.5%) did not build a web due to lack of available space. Webless spiders were less likely to leave when bounced (only 42% left) and instead attempted to “freeload,” awaiting the capture of prey items in nearby webs. Our simple model shows that webless spiders should change their strategy from bourgeois to freeloading satellite as potential web sites become increasingly occupied.

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