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Title: Hatching responses of subsocial spitting spiders to predation risk
Authors: Li, D. 
Keywords: Chemical cues
Hatching response
Portia labiata
Predation risk
Scytodes pallida
Issue Date: 22-Oct-2002
Citation: Li, D. (2002-10-22). Hatching responses of subsocial spitting spiders to predation risk. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 269 (1505) : 2155-2161. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The carrying of eggs often renders parents vulnerable to predators due to increased conspicuousness or decreased mobility. Nonetheless, egg-carrying parents can escape from the predators to which they are vulnerable. Previous studies have demonstrated heavy predation by spider-eating jumping spiders (Portia labiata) on egg-carrying spitting spider (Scytodes pallida) females, but little predation on eggless females. If the timing of hatching is phenotypically plastic, then both S. pallida females and their eggs could reduce the risk of predation by hatching early. Hence, this study examines the hatching responses of S. pallida to chemical cues from P. labiata, both in the laboratory and in the field, and addresses the following questions. (i) Do cues from predatory P. labiata influence the hatching traits of S. pallida? (ii) Are the olfactory cues from predators sufficient for predator detection by S. pallida? (iii) Are hatching responses to predatory P. labiata controlled by egg-carrying S. pallida females, or directly by their embryos? The study provides evidence of hatching as a life-history switch point, which shows an adaptive plasticity in response to predation risk in egg-carrying S. pallida. Egg-carrying S. pallida females, but not unattended eggs, adjust egg-hatching time (the interval between oviposition and hatching) in response to the threat of predation on both the female and her eggs by P. labiata. In the presence of P. labiata, eggs that are carried by females hatch sooner; the hatchlings of these eggs are therefore smaller than hatchlings born in the absence of P. labiata. Chemical cues that are released from the draglines of P. labiata are sufficient to elicit changes in the egg-hatching traits of S. pallida. Hatching early in response to this predator may benefit both females and their offspring. To my knowledge, this is the first direct experimental study to demonstrate predator-induced hatching plasticity in spiders and, in particular, in animals with parental care.
Source Title: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
ISSN: 09628452
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2002.2140
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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