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Nocturnal Navigation in Leucorchestris arenicola (Araneae, Sparassidae)

Thomas Nørgaard
The Journal of Arachnology
Vol. 33, No. 2, 16th International Congress of Arachnology (2005), pp. 533-540
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4129851
Page Count: 8
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Nocturnal Navigation in Leucorchestris arenicola (Araneae, Sparassidae)
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Abstract

When the males of the Namib Desert spider Leucorchestris arenicola (Araneae, Sparassidae) reach the adult stage they undertake long nocturnal searches for females. From these searches they return to their home burrow often in a straight line only retracing a fraction of their outward path if at all. Distances of 40 m and 13 m are conservative estimates of the mean round trip length and maximum distance from the burrow. Returning to the starting point of a round trip of such length is theoretically only possible if the navigator uses external cues for positional reference. The possible involvement of a range of external cues in the male L. arenicola was investigated. The direction of gravity, the sun, polarized sunlight, olfaction, constant wind direction and vibrational beacons are ruled out or deemed unlikely to be involved in the spiders' homing.

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