Experiments reported in Sandidge (2003; Nature 426: 30) indicated that the brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa Gertsch & Mulaik, preferred to scavenge dead prey over live prey and that the spiders were not detrimentally affected when fed insecticide-killed crickets. Extrapolations made in subsequent media coverage disseminating the results of this research made counterintuitive statements that pesticide treatment in houses would increase brown recluse populations in homes. This information was presented as if the scavenging behavior was specialized in the brown recluse; however, it was more likely that this behavior has not been well studied in other species. To provide a comparison, the current laboratory study examined the likelihood of non-Loxosceles spiders to scavenge dead prey. Of 100 non-Loxosceles spiders that were tested (from 11 families, 24 genera, and at least 29 species from a variety of spider hunting guilds), 99 scavenged dead crickets when offered in petri dishes. Some of the spiders were webspinners in which real-world scavenging of dead prey is virtually impossible, yet they scavenge when given the opportunity. Therefore, scavenging is a flexible opportunistic predatory behavior that is spread across a variety of taxa and is not a unique behavior in brown recluses. These findings are discussed in relation to pest management practices.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 104 • No. 3