Prey are able to show adaptive antipredator responses in the presence of silk from the wolf spider Hogna helluo (Walckenaer 1837). Hogna helluo also is attracted to chemical cues associated with previously consumed prey. Consequently H. helluo may benefit by modifying its silk deposition when encountering prey cues to avoid detection. Silk is an important medium for female wolf spiders to attract prospective mates, whereas silk is putatively less important for males to attract females. Females also consume much more food than males after maturity; therefore, male and female H. helluo may differ in the relative costs and benefits of silk deposition with respect to improved feeding efficiency. We tested whether field-caught male and female Hogna helluo changed silk deposition patterns in the presence of excreta deposited by domestic crickets, Acheta domesticus, (Linnaeus). Hungry male and female H. helluo were allowed to deposit silk for four hours in containers either previously occupied by five crickets for 24 h or devoid of cues (n = 36). We found no significant decrease in silk dragline deposition among males or females in the presence of prey cues; however, female spiders showed a significant decrease in the number of attachment disks produced in the presence of cricket cues whereas males did not. Our results suggest that Hogna helluo do change silk deposition patterns in the presence of crickets, but that these changes are sex-specific.
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