In previous studies, the “cocoon” webs built by spiders of the genera Cyclosa Menge, 1866 and Allocyclosa Levi, 1999 under the influence of Polysphincta spp. wasps resembled molting webs built by unparasitized spiders; this behavioral manipulation was associated with increased concentrations of the molting hormone ecdysone. The present study documents an additional aspect of the cocoon webs of Allocyclosa bifurca (McCook, 1887) built under the influence of the wasp Polysphincta gutfreundi Gauld, 1991. Molting webs were more likely to have an associated barrier web than were prey capture orbs; and cocoon webs were even more likely to have barrier webs. The similarity between molting and cocoon webs accords with previous indications of ecdysone use by the wasps. The accentuation of molting web traits in the cocoon webs (also seen in other species) implies that the wasps manipulate the spiders using mechanisms other than simply replicating hormonal stimuli involved in normal molting.
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Vol. 49 • No. 2