Stegodyphus mimosarum of the African savanna form communal nests consisting of few to several hundred individuals and co-operate in nest construction and maintenance, brood care and prey capture. We tested large and small individuals for differential responses to different prey risk types. To date, there has been no conclusive evidence of tasking in these or other social spiders. If tasking occurs, small spiders should approach and attempt to subdue less dangerous prey items such as flies more often than the more dangerous prey items such as bees. Hungry individuals were significantly more willing to venture out of the nest refuge and thus accept the costs associated with prey capture than were satiated spiders. Apparent depletion of poison in previous prey captures did not significantly affect an individual's response to a prey item. Spiders treated more dangerous prey (bees) more carefully than less dangerous prey (flies), but there was no difference in the response of large versus small spiders to prey. The two-way interaction between spider size and prey type was never statistically significant, indicating a lack of tasking in this species.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Arachnology|
|State||Published - 1 Jan 2002|