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Inter-and intraspecific effects of density manipulations upon females of two orb-weaving spiders (araneae: araneidae)

Inter-and intraspecific effects of density manipulations upon females of two orb-weaving spiders (araneae: araneidae)

Oecologia 48(2): 252-256

A field experiment was conducted to establish whether or not inter-and intraspecific competition occurs between two syntopic species of orb-weaving spiders. Replicated single-species and mixed-species adult populations of the basilica spider, Mecynogea lemniscata, and the labyrinth spider, Metepeira labyrinthea, were established at a range of densities on open experimental units in the species' natural habitat. Each experimental unit was a 4mx1.6mx1m wood frame supporting branches upon which introduced spiders built webs. Survival and reproduction on the units were monitored from 1 August through 1 November 1978,There were no significant negative interspecific effects of density upon either survival or reproduction, which indicates that interspecific competition was not occurring during the experiment. There was statistically significant evidence of intraspecific competition between females for both species, but the negative density effects were small. They explained 5% of the variance in Mecynogea web height, 2% of the variance in Metepeira survival, and 1% of the variation in number of eggs per sac for Mecynogea.Hence inter-and intraspecific competition was either absent or weak in 1978, despite the fact that a field experiment conducted the previous year (Wise 1979) demonstrated that prey abundance was limiting the egg production of both species. Evidence of food limitation in 1977 followed by only weak competitive interactions the following year suggests that the significance of resource limitation and competition may vary temporally for the basilica and labyrinth spiders.

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Accession: 059872222

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PMID: 28309808

DOI: 10.1007/bf00347972

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