We measured the effects of plant nectar consumption on Cheiracanthium inclusum (Hentz) (Miturgidae), an agriculturally important spider. Newly emerged spiderlings were reared on the eggs of Helicoverpa zea (Boddie) at four prey densities, 1, 5, 25, or 125 eggs, three times a week, with or without nectar. Nectar came from the extrafloral nectaries of Indian almond, Terminalia cattapa L. (Combretaceae). The addition of nectar to prey (1) allowed spiderlings on the 1-egg diet to survive longer and molt many more times; (2) allowed virtually all of the spiderlings on the 5-egg diet to become small adults and 50% to mate and reproduce versus those without nectar, none of which matured to adulthood; and (3) increased fecundity of females on 5-egg and 25-egg diets to the level of females fed five times the amount of prey. These results show that spiders that feed on nectar increase their fitness with increased survival, growth, and fecundity, particularly when density of prey is inadequate or marginal.
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