Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Timid jumping spider uses ant as bodyguard

Date:
March 11, 2014
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Ants are the unlikely guardians of jumping spiders in their battle against aggressive spitting spiders. A timid jumping spider uses the scent of ants as a secret weapon to save itself from becoming the somewhat soggy prey of the predatory spitting spider. The downside to this plan is that jumping spiders are also a favorite snack of its very own saviors. To overcome this additional hazard, the spider has made yet another plan in the form of an ant-proof nest.

Ants are the unlikely guardians of jumping spiders in their battle against aggressive spitting spiders.
Credit: Image courtesy of Springer Science+Business Media

Ants are the unlikely guardians of jumping spiders in their battle against aggressive spitting spiders.

Related Articles


A timid jumping spider uses the scent of ants as a secret weapon to save itself from becoming the somewhat soggy prey of the predatory spitting spider. The downside to this plan is that jumping spiders are also a favorite snack of its very own saviors. To overcome this additional hazard, the spider has made yet another plan in the form of an ant-proof nest, writes Ximena Nelson of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and Robert Jackson of the University of Canterbury and the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Kenya, in Springer's journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

Associations in which a more vulnerable species gains protection by seeking out the company of a pugnacious protector species capable of deterring predators are more well-known among birds than among arachnids. Nelson and Jackson therefore carried out experimental work at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines to look at the dynamics between a type of jumping spider (Phintella piatensis), the territorial weaver ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) and a web-building predatory spitting spider (Scytodes sp).

The spitting spider can immobilize its prey by spitting on it from a distance. In the Philippines, it lives on the same large waxy leaves as the jumping spider. It normally spins its web right over the nest of the jumping spider, to make hunting just a little bit easier. However, the researchers found that a spitting spider does not come near a jumping spider when the latter positions its own nest near that of weaver ants. This is because the spitting spider is repelled by the specific airborne olfactory compounds that these ants release.

The researchers found that jumping spiders choose nesting sites based on whether they can see active living ants, if they detect ant odor or can see mounts made from dead weaver ants. However, it's not yet plain sailing for the jumping spider, as it is also a favorite snack of its savior, the weaver ant. Therefore jumping spiders build dense ant-proof nests of an unusually tough and dense weave that are difficult for the insects to tear open. The nest's hinged flaps of silk at each end function as swinging doors. The spider quickly raises these when it enters or leaves the nest, before any ants can follow, too.

"Nesting associations with territorial ants whereby the ant does not receive any benefit may be more common among arthropods than is currently appreciated," concludes Nelson. "We expect that a closer look at ant-other arthropod relationships will yield numerous examples similar to ours and provide a better understanding of the complexities of microhabitat choice and its ecological ramifications."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ximena J. Nelson, Robert R. Jackson. Timid spider uses odor and visual cues to actively select protected nesting sites near ants. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s00265-014-1690-2

Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Timid jumping spider uses ant as bodyguard." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140311100612.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2014, March 11). Timid jumping spider uses ant as bodyguard. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140311100612.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Timid jumping spider uses ant as bodyguard." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140311100612.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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