Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology

Multiple feeding in wolf spiders: the effect of starvation on handling time, ingestion rate, and intercatch intervals in Lycosa lapidosa (Araneae : Lycosidae)

V. W. Framenau, L. A. Finley, K. Allan, M. Love, D. Shirley and M. A. Elgar

Australian Journal of Zoology 48(1) 59 - 65
Published: 2000


Multiple prey capture, the behaviour of a predator attacking prey whilst handling a previously caught item, occurs in a variety of spiders that do not build webs. The effects of recent feeding history on the frequency of multiple prey attacks, handling time, ingestion rate, and intercatch intervals were examined experimentally in the wolf spider Lycosa lapidosa McKay. Juvenile spiders were subjected to two different feeding regimes (starvation for 14 and 28 days) and then provided with two different prey types (blowflies, Lucilia cuprina, and crickets, Acheta domestica). These two starvation levels or prey types had little effect on the frequency (75%) of multiple prey attacks. Spiders ingested approximately half the weight of any captured prey, regardless of how many prey items they attacked. At the same time, the handling time per prey item decreased with an increasing number of prey attacked. This indicates a more efficient ingestion rate when more prey are consumed. While the attacking time for the first prey was the same for all treatments, the first intercatch interval was longer for spiders that were starved longer. Chronically starved L. lapidosa appear to secure a previously caught item rather than optimise their capture rate by attacking further available prey.

© CSIRO 2000

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