Air temperature and humidity at the bottom of desert wolf spider burrows are not affected by surface conditions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Burrows are animal-built structures that can buffer their occupants against the vagaries of the weather and provide protection from predators. We investigated whether the trapdoors of wolf spider (Lycosa sp.; temporary working name "L. hyraculus") burrows in the Negev Desert serve to maintain favorable environmental conditions within the burrow by removing trapdoors and monitoring the ensuing temperature and relative humidity regime within them. We also monitored the behavioral responses of “L. hyraculus” to trapdoor removal at different times of the day and in different seasons. “L. hyraculus” often spun silk mesh in their burrow entrances in response to trapdoor removal during the day, possibly to deter diurnal predators. The frequency of web-spinning peaked on summer mornings, but spiders began spinning webs sooner after trapdoor removal later in the day. In addition, we monitored temperature and relative humidity in artificial burrows in the summer during the morning and at midday. At noon, air temperature (Ta) at the bottom of open burrows increased by <1C more than in covered burrows, but water vapor pressure in burrows did not change. The relatively small increase in Ta in uncovered burrows at midday can probably be ascribed to the penetration of direct solar radiation. Thus, air temperature and humidity at the bottom of the burrow are apparently decoupled from airflow at the surface.

Original languageEnglish
Article number943
JournalInsects
Volume12
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Activity patterns
  • Lycosidae
  • Microenvironment
  • Responses to disturbance
  • Spider burrows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science

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