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 Just Accepted

This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

Evolution of host use, group-living, and foraging behaviors in kleptoparasitic spiders: Molecular phylogeny of the Argyrodinae (Araneae: Theridiidae).

Yong-Chao Su, Deborah Smith


Abstract Spiders in the subfamily Argyrodinae are known for their associations with other spiders. These associations include predation (araneophagy), web usurpation, and kleptoparasitism. Although the majority of the 239 described species are solitary, ~20 species live in groups in the webs of their hosts. We constructed a molecular phylogeny of argyrodine genera and species in order to investigate (1) the evolution of araneophagy and kleptoparasitism, and (2) group-living and its association with particular types of host webs. We investigated the phylogeny of 41 primarily Asian and American species representing six recognized genera of Argyrodinae, using sequences of four genes: mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) and 16S ribosomal RNA (16S); and nuclear 28 ribosomal RNA (28s) and Histone 3 (H3). We used Bayesian methods to reconstruct the ancestral states of three behavioral characters: foraging method, group-living, and specialization on large webs of large hosts. We tested for correlated evolution of group-living behavior and specialization on large webs using reversible-jump Markov Chain Monte Carlo methods. The molecular phylogenetic analyses support the monophyly of the Argyrodinae. Reconstruction of ancestral states shows the evolutionary pathway of web invading behavior in Argyrodinae is from araneophagy to kleptoparasitism, and then to group-living kleptoparasitism. We found the evolution of group-living behavior is strongly correlated with specialization on the use of large host webs, which provide a larger food resource than smaller webs.

IS14010  Accepted 23 April 2014
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