The influence of prey on size, capture area and mesh height of the orb-web of the garden spider, Argiope aemula (Walckenaer, 1841) (Araneaea: Araneidae)

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science and Mathematics, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology, 9200 Iligan City, Philippines

2 Institute of Biological Sciences, U.P. Los Bańos Laguna, Philippines


The orb-web garden spider Argiope aemula (Walckenaer, 1841) is a sit-and-wait predator.  It is argued that it can anticipate its future prey environment by detecting the presence of prey and adjusting their web building behavior accordingly. Therefore this study therefore investigates the influence of the different prey sizes and density of the capture area and mesh height of the webs constructed by the spider. In the laboratory, the spiders were given prey with different size and densities to determine their influence on the web architecture. Results show that spider individuals can increase or decrease the sizes of webs, capture area, and mesh height in response to prey size and density. Starved spiders constructed significantly larger webs than well-fed spiders.  In the absence of potential prey, the spiders constructed larger capture area. In the presence of small prey, spiders significantly constructed very narrow- meshed webs or tightly spaced capture spirals than the presence of larger prey but larger than in no prey regime. Similarly, the food deprived spiders spun small-spaced mesh height than well-fed spiders. The results of the present study demonstrate that spiders can manipulate their web architecture in response to different prey sizes and food availability (densities).