The relationship between the extent of leg loss and female fitness was investigated in the green lynx spider Peucetia viridans (Hentz, 1832). Adult females and their egg sacs were collected at nine sites in southern California and three measures of bodily characteristics (carapace width, weight, residual index) and three measures of reproductive performance (egg sac weight, egg number, mean sac weight per young) were determined for each spider. Of the 344 spiders sampled, 17.1% were missing one or more legs, with the frequency of leg loss showing no significant differences with respect to the eight limb positions or the four limb pairs among spiders missing one leg. While female size did not differ among leg-loss groups, females which were intact or which had lost one leg were generally heavier and in better body condition than females which had lost two or three legs. Such eight- and seven-legged females also produced heavier egg sacs and more eggs than six-legged females. These findings do not support Guffey's (1999) prediction that female arachnids which lose two legs experience minimal costs, but they are consistent with Brueseke et al. (2001)'s suggestion that reproductive output might be reduced for female spiders which have lost legs. Why females missing three or more legs did not exhibit a comparable, if not more severe, reduction in egg sac weight and egg number than six-legged females is unknown, though it may be related to the small size of this group (8) and peculiarities of the few spiders in it.
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Vol. 17 • No. 6