A great number of spiders build orb-webs and although the overall structure is the result of fixed behavioral patterns, much small-scale inter- and intraspecific variation is nonetheless evident. Thus in order to fully understand the orb-web and web-building behavior in these spiders, we need to study substantial samples of many different species of orb-weavers. However, to date only a few species have been rigorously studied both in the field and in the laboratory. Here, we investigate the ecology, behavior and orb-web of the neotropical spider Eustala illicita (O. Pickard-Cambridge 1889) and suggest it as suitable for further studies based on 1) the ease at which it can be located in abundant numbers in the field, 2) its willingness to build webs in the laboratory, 3) the plasticity of its behavior, and 4) its interesting ecology in the form of interactions with the swollen-thorn acacias and their ant mutualists. Here, we introduce its natural history and then provide a detailed description of orb-webs built in the field and in the laboratory, which we compare to other orb-spiders.
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