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The Ability of Spider Cribellar Prey Capture Thread to Hold Insects with Different Surface Features

B. D. Opell
Functional Ecology
Vol. 8, No. 2 (Apr., 1994), pp. 145-150
DOI: 10.2307/2389897
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2389897
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Ability of Spider Cribellar Prey Capture Thread to Hold Insects with Different Surface Features
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Abstract

1. Cribellar thread is the most primitive type of capture thread found in the aerial webs spun by spiders and is composed of thousands of dry, looped fibrils that are spun from the spigots of a spinning plate. 2. Comparison of the strength with which cribellar threads produced by two species of spiders in the family Uloboridae held five insect surfaces demonstrates that the size, type and density of insect setae influence a thread's stickiness. 3. Moth wings were held the least strongly, as their detachable scales easily pulled free of the wing and remained attached to the cribellar threads. 4. Two forces were responsible for holding the other insect surfaces: setal snagging caused the stout setae of a fly notum to catch on the fine fibrils of the cribellar thread, whereas an uncharacterized force held the smooth surface of a beetle elytra and the setose surfaces of a bug hemelytra and a fly wing. 5. The force with which non-snagging surfaces that have well-attached setae were held was directly proportional to the area of contact between the cribellar thread and the surface. 6. Together, these mechanisms create prey capture threads that effectively but differentially hold a range of insect prey.

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