Web-construction behavior of linyphiid spiders (Araneae, Linyphiidae): Competition and co-existence within a generalist predator guild

James D. Harwood, John J. Obrycki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

The web-construction behavior of three species of linyphiid spider (Erigone autumnalis, Meioneta unimaculata and Bathyphantes pallida) was studied in the laboratory to examine competition and co-existence within predator guilds. Competitive interactions between spiders potentially reduce their role in biological control. We tested the hypothesis that at high densities, intraguild competition for web-sites would occur but spatial separation of microhabitat would reduce interguild competition, thus allowing co-existence. High mortality and reduced web-size were observed at high B. pallida densities but Linyphiinae co-existed with Erigoninae which constructed webs at different strata. Competitive exclusion by larger individuals occurred between species whose microhabitat niche overlapped. The biocontrol potential of spider or arthropod predator guilds could ultimately be enhanced by maximizing the diversity of species whose niche axes vary.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-607
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Support for this research was provided by the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station State Project KY099004. This is publication number 04-08-101 of the University of Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station.

Keywords

  • Biological control
  • Competition
  • Displacement
  • Generalist predators
  • Intraguild predation
  • Web-location

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science

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