The emergence of anti-predatory strategies for prey survival are ruled by the minimization of the encounters/ interactions with potential predators, but at the same time by maximizing the access to limiting resources such as food or mating partners. Cues indicating predatory activity influence decision-making activities in the twospotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae, such as dispersion, foraging activities, and reproductive effort. However, anti-predatory strategies studied in spider mites generally considers mainly the female perspective (e.g. oviposition), leaving a gap in how T. urticae couples deal with predatory risk. Here, through laboratory experiments, we observed that matured spider mite couples were only affected by predation risk during the precopulatory stages of the mating process, especially when deciding to proceed in a mating opportunity. The mating performance of individuals was independent of their exposure to predation risk, suggesting that couples would adopt full investment behavior after opting to proceed in a mating attempt. Though our working hypothesis predicted predation risk interference throughout the entire mating process, we conclude that decision-making activities by spider mite during pre-copulatory stages act independently from copulatory stages associated to insemination.
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Vol. 25 • No. 8