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1 April 2013 Specificity of attraction to floral chemistry in Misumenoides formosipes crab spiders
G. N. Dodson, P. L. Lang, R. N. Jones, A. N. Versprille
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Although our understanding of arachnid olfactory physiology remains relatively limited, studies continue to reveal the importance of chemical cues for many spider behaviors. Olfactory cues for detecting prey, navigating to foraging sites, or finding mates might be especially beneficial to cursorial and ambush spiders living in structurally complex habitats. Previous field results suggested that volatile plant chemical cues were important in Misumenoides formosipes Walckenaer 1837 (Thomisidae) navigation and led us to design olfactometer bioassays to test this hypothesis in the laboratory. In our olfactometer trials, crab spider males were attracted specifically to the floral scent of Rudbeckia hirta (a species on which M. formosipes is commonly found in the field), but not to volatiles from foliage of the same plant species nor to volatiles from foliage of Morus rubra. Male spiders also failed to display any attraction to the floral scent of Daucus carota, even though they commonly reside on that plant in the field. Female M. formosipes did not move toward R. hirta inflorescences as a first choice over a control, although they did spend more time in the olfactometer arm with the R. hirta treatment. Males' use of olfactory cues to locate R. hirta inflorescences should increase encounters with potential mates, given that females in our population are found on that substrate more predictably than on any other.

The American Arachnological Society
G. N. Dodson, P. L. Lang, R. N. Jones, and A. N. Versprille "Specificity of attraction to floral chemistry in Misumenoides formosipes crab spiders," The Journal of Arachnology 41(1), 36-42, (1 April 2013).
Received: 29 December 2011; Published: 1 April 2013
Floral scents
plant volatiles
spider olfaction
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