Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Ballooning' Spiders Grounded By Infection

Date:
July 26, 2009
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Money spiders infected with Rickettsia bacteria are less likely to 'balloon' -- that is, to use their silk as sails to catch gusts of wind and travel long distances. Researchers suggest that it may be in the bacteria's interests to ground the spiders and that this reduction in dispersal could reduce gene flow and impact on reproductive isolation within the meta-population.

This is a money spider "ballooning."
Credit: Goodacre et al., BMC Biology

Money spiders infected with Rickettsia bacteria are less likely to 'balloon' – that is, to use their silk as sails to catch gusts of wind and travel long distances. Researchers suggest that it may be in the bacteria's interests to ground the spiders and that this reduction in dispersal could reduce gene flow and impact on reproductive isolation within the meta-population.

While working at the University of East Anglia, Sara Goodacre led an international team of researchers who investigated the microbes' effect on the spiders' ballooning behavior. She said, "Because we found no reduction in fitness associated with Rickettsia infection, the reduced long-distance dispersal seems unlikely to be simply due to decreased body condition caused by illness. Rather, we believe that reducing long-distance dispersal could be an evolved adaptive modification by bacterial infections to promote their own transmission".

The researchers treated the spiders with antibiotics to reduce the bacterial infection and showed that this increased their ballooning frequency. They also observed that Rickettsia-infected spiders reared in the laboratory had reduced long-distance (but not short-distance) dispersal. This parasite-induced change in a non-reproductive trait has never been shown before and, according to Goodacre, "Clearly shows that the dynamics of ecosystem services such as a spider's pest-controlling function may be altered as a consequence of bacterial infection".


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sara L Goodacre, Oliver Y Martin, Dries Bonte, Linda Hutchings, Chris Woolley, Kamal Ibrahim, C.F. George Thomas and Godfrey M Hewitt. Microbial modification of host long-distance dispersal capacity. BMC Biology, (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "'Ballooning' Spiders Grounded By Infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090618200929.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2009, July 26). 'Ballooning' Spiders Grounded By Infection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090618200929.htm
BioMed Central. "'Ballooning' Spiders Grounded By Infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090618200929.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins