Variation in the chemical composition of orb webs built by the spider Nephila clavipes (Araneae, Tetragnathidae)


The adhesive droplets in the orb webs of araneoid spiders contain, among other constituents, an aqueous solution of organic low-molecular-weight compounds. The chemical composition of this solution has been investigated for pooled web collections from several species, but little is known about how the composition might vary among individuals or among environments. To begin addressing these questions, we analyzed serial collections of orb webs spun by individual juvenile Nephila clavipes from three different populations held first under field conditions and then under laboratory conditions. Our results indicate that the composition of the organic low-molecular-weight solution is not fixed. We found significant differences in the droplet composition among individuals, among populations, and with the transfer of spiders to laboratory conditions. The possible origins and consequences of these differences are discussed.


Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences

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Journal of Arachnology


American Arachnological Society

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