Cyclosa spiders attach prey carcasses as decorations to their webs, but the functions of the carcasses are unclear and controversial. We investigated distinctive features of these webs in the field and conducted prey-capture experiments in the lab using the orb-web spider Cyclosa mulmeinensis. Webs with attached decoration had a significantly narrower mesh width than those without decoration and a higher degree of vertical asymmetry in the web's shape. In the laboratory, webs without decorations trapped significantly more prey, even though other features of the webs were nearly identical. These results suggest that web decorations do not attract prey in this species, but might play other roles such as blinding predators to the spider's presence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science