Units of behavior and complex sequences in the predatory behavior of Argiope argentata (Fabricius): (Araneae: Araneidae)

  • Robinson M
  • Olazarri J
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Michael H. Robinson and Jose Olazarri. Units of Behavior and Complex Sequences in the Predatory Behavior of Argiope argentata (Fabricius) : (Araneae: Araneidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, number 65, 36 pages, 1971—An experimental and observational study of the predatory behavior of Argiope argentata, a large orb-web spider, is reported in detail. The predatory behavior consists of a sequence of distinct behavior units. The sequence begins when the prey strikes the web and ends when the spider starts feeding or the prey escapes. Detailed description of all the behavior units that are known to be employed in predatory sequences are given. The units are functionally distinct and involve prey location, prey discrimination, prey immobilization, and prey transportation. Predatory sequences vary both in the units of behavior involved and in the duration of these units. Complete behavior sequences are described and analyzed. These sequences were given by adult spiders when they were presented with seven types of insect prey that differed taxonomically and/or physically. Further studies were made of the responses of spiders to both inedible artifacts and naturally occur- ring inedible objects. An extensive comparison is made of the sequences elicited by different types of prey and conclusions are drawn about the adaptive significance of the various attack and restraint strategies. The model of the predatory behavior of A. argentata pro- posed by Robinson (1969) is revised and recast. A picture of considerable complexity emerges from this study.

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  • Michael H. Robinson

  • José Olazarri

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