Prey capture by the orb-web spider, Argiope aurantia Lucas 1833, depends on the type of the web-site selected. I analyzed A. aurantia web sites in open field and adjacent forest edge habitats to identify habitat features associated with web characteristics and prey capture. In the open field, the use of herbs or grass for web attachment was associated with smaller web diameters, and lower attachment heights and web heights. In both forest edge and open field, the distance to the nearest flower was less when web attachments were on composites. In the open field, webs attached to grass captured more orthopteran prey, and webs attached to herbs and composites captured more hymenopteran prey. The mean number of prey captured and the proportion of hymenopteran prey increased with higher web attachments in the open field habitat. Close proximity of webs to goldenrod in bloom in the open field habitat increased the mean number of prey captured and the proportion of hymenopteran prey. In the forest edge habitat, the presence of goldenrod was associated with more hymenopteran and orthopteran prey and with a higher mean prey number captured. Generally, webs in the open field habitat had more hymenopteran and orthopteran prey and higher mean prey number captured than the forest edge habitat. The web-site providing the greatest probability for encountering and capturing prey is predicted to be one with a tall composite plant for web attachment near goldenrod in bloom.
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