Research press release


Nature Ecology & Evolution

Hurricanes aid aggressive spiders



Alexander Littleたちは、2018年に米国のメキシコ湾岸と大西洋岸を襲った3つの熱帯低気圧の前後で、集団生活を営むクモ(Anelosimus studiosus)のコロニーのサンプル調査を行った。彼らは、熱帯低気圧の経路を予想することにより、予想経路上にあるコロニーのサイズを評価し、それぞれのコロニーが模擬的被食者に対してどれだけ攻撃的に反応するかを調べたの。著者たちは、クモの巣を振動させて攻撃に出てきたクモを数え、さらに、低気圧の通過から48時間後に現地へ戻ってどのコロニーが生き残ったかを調べ、その後の2回の訪問で卵をいくつ産んだか、孵化した幼虫が何匹かを数えた。低気圧の前に攻撃性が高かったコロニーは、暴風雨襲来後の繁殖率と幼虫生存率が高かった。熱帯低気圧の影響を受けなかった地域では、穏やかなコロニーのほうが有利であった。

Aggressive spider colonies have higher rates of survival and reproduction following tropical cyclones than more docile colonies, finds a study published online this week in Nature Ecology & Evolution. The research suggests that extreme events could play a role in shaping animal behaviours.

Tropical cyclones create large-scale disturbances to natural habitats. However, studying the ecological effects of these infrequent and often unpredictable events is challenging, as it requires a comparison of habitats both before and after a storm strikes land.

Alexander Little and colleagues sampled colonies of the group-living spider Anelosimus studiosus before and after three tropical cyclones hit the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of the United States in 2018. By anticipating the trajectory of the tropical cyclones, the authors assessed the size of colonies in the projected path and tested how aggressively each colony responded to simulated prey. The authors vibrated the web and counted the number of spiders that subsequently attacked. They then returned 48 hours after the cyclone to see which colonies had survived, and on two later occasions to count how many eggs had been produced and how many spiderlings hatched. Colonies that were more aggressive before a cyclone had higher rates of reproduction and juvenile spider survival following a storm strike. In regions unaffected by the tropical cyclones, more docile colonies were favoured.

doi: 10.1038/s41559-019-0951-x

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