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)

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 April 16, 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 April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida

AP (Apr. 14, 2014) Florida wildlife officials say they have killed five bears following an attack on a woman in a suburban subdivision in central Florida. Forty-five year-old Terri Frana was attacked by a large bear in her driveway Saturday. (April 14) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Uruguay Opens Its First Cannabis Library

Uruguay Opens Its First Cannabis Library

AFP (Apr. 13, 2014) Uruguay opened its first Cannabis Library in Montevideo on Saturday, where people can come and read books on cannabis or take classes on how to grow the plant or even how to cook with it. Duration: 01:20 Video provided by AFP
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