Numerous species reside in habitats that fluctuate widely across a number of environmental conditions. Many of these organisms utilize physiological or behavioral adaptations that allow them to survive in variable environments. Specifically, some wolf spiders commonly use a variety of refuges (e.g. burrows) as a tactic to escape a variety of unsuitable surface conditions, including biotic (e.g. predators) and abiotic factors (e.g. temperature, light, humidity). Here, we investigated the influence of varying temperature and light levels on refuge use and overall activity in the wolf spider Rabidosa punctulata. Our experiment used a fully crossed design varying both temperature (low: 4.4° C vs. high: 26.7° C) and light levels (light vs. dark)(N = 20/treatment). We found that both temperature and light affected spider activity, while only temperature affected burrow use. Spiders were the most active when warm and in the dark, and they were more likely to enter a burrow retreat in the cold. This study provides insight into how various organisms, like ectotherms, may alter behaviors to deal with extremely variable habitats.
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