Eur. J. Entomol. 108 (2): 255-260, 2011 | DOI: 10.14411/eje.2011.034

Life-history constraints in inaccurate Batesian myrmecomorphic spiders (Araneae: Corinnidae, Gnaphosidae)

Stano PEKÁR, Martin JARAB
Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kotlá řská 2, 611 37 Brno, Czech Republic;

Accurate Batesian mimicry is known to impose constraints on some traits of the mimic, such as foraging or reproductive behaviour. It is not known whether life-history traits of inaccurate Batesian mimics are constrained as well. We studied selected life-history traits of three spider species, Liophrurillus flavitarsis, Phrurolithus festivus (both Corinnidae), and Micaria sociabilis (Gnaphosidae), that are inaccurate mimics of ants. Namely, we were interested in how myrmecomorphy (ant-like resemblance) constrains their circadian activity, trophic niche and reproductive behaviour. The spiders were found to have diurnal activity like their models, whereas their close relatives have nocturnal activity. The three mimics do not catch ants, nor do they use food resources of ants, but catch various tiny invertebrates that occur in the vicinity of their models. Their trophic niche seems to be constrained by occurrence among ants. Absence of courtship and long lasting copulation, in a position that does not provide protective resemblance, do not seem to be constrained by mimicry in the three species. Comparative analysis of fecundity in mimetic and non-mimetic spiders showed that clutch size is also not constrained. Unlike in accurate mimics, life-history traits of inaccurate myrmecomorphs appear not to be constrained.

Keywords: Formicidae, prey, trophic niche, clutch size, copulation, courtship

Received: August 9, 2010; Accepted: November 9, 2010; Published: April 5, 2011

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