Navigation Links
David and Goliath: How a tiny spider catches much larger prey
Date:6/12/2014

In nature, it is very rare to find a proverbial much smaller David able to overpower and kill a Goliath for supper. This is exactly the modus operandi of a solitary tiny spider from the Negev desert in Israel that routinely kills ants up to almost four times its own size. Details about how it attacks and kills its prey with a venomous bite is published in Springer's journal Naturwissenschaften The Science of Nature. The study was led by Stano Pekr of Masaryk University in the Czech Republic.

Pekr's team observed the natural prey and predatory behavior of the minute ant-eating Zodarion cyrenaicum spider in the field and in the laboratory. This spider feeds almost exclusively on the Messor arenarius ant. It can grow up to 17 millimeters and is therefore practically a giant compared to a spiderling of up to three millimetres in size. Two versions or morphs of this ant - a larger and a smaller one - are found.

Surprisingly, it was found that the spider, already at the juvenile stage, deliberately chooses to hunt Messor arenarius above all other ant species present in the sand dunes. This is in contrast to other Zodarion species where juveniles select small ants that are comparable to their own size and, as they develop, switch to larger ant species. The researchers suggest that this active selection is likely because the spider is able to recognize a specific component of a pheromone, a chemical substance, produced by the ant. Pekr's team also found that the adult female spiders generally capture the large morphs, while the tiny juvenile spiders catch smaller ants. In all cases, though, the spiders were much smaller than their prey. The giant ants were always captured by a single individual, and immobilized with a single bite.

Previous work done by Pekr showed that the capture strategy of female adult spiders includes a fast attack from behind, followed by a retreat to avoid counter-attacks by the ants. In the present study, he noted that the tiny juveniles' attack strategy differs from that of the females. Thanks to their tiny size, they are able to climb on the dorsal side of an ant and deliver an immobilizing bite to the abdomen, thus avoiding retaliation by the immediately helpless prey.

The venom glands of adult ant-eating spiders are more than 50 times larger than those of the juveniles. However, it only takes about twice as long for the venom of the younger spiders to take effect. This suggests that this spider species possesses very potent venom already at the juvenile stage. The greater success of adult spiders in capturing prey is most likely because they are able to inject more venom into their prey.

"Specialized capture combined with very effective venom enables this ant-eating spider to capture giant prey," Pekr concludes.


'/>"/>
Contact: Joan Robinson
joan.robinson@springer.com
49-622-148-78130
Springer
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. New journal, Brain and Gut, edited by David Perlmutter, best-selling author of Grain Brain, launching in summer 2014
2. David Allis, pioneer in epigenetics, to receive prestigious Japan Prize
3. Professor Sir David Weatherall, M.D., recieves 2013 Wallace H. Coulter Award
4. Bluemetal Architects appoints David Le Penske as Vice President of Health & Life Sciences
5. Environmental activist David Suzuki is fifth recipient of CWRU’s Inamori Ethics Prize
6. The American Society for Microbiology honors David Tobin
7. AnaptysBio Adds Dr. David L. Lacey and Dr. Michael Gallatin to Therapeutic Advisory Board
8. Male dwarf spiders make sure offspring is their own
9. Spiders know the meaning of web music
10. Spiders spin possible solution to sticky problems
11. Mapping the spider genome
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
David and Goliath: How a tiny spider catches much larger prey
(Date:6/11/2019)... ... June 10, 2019 , ... Improved Pharma LLC announces the publication ... of AAPS PharmSciTech. The article was published online on April 29th, 2019. The authors ... with Xiaoming Sean Chen of Purdue University. , The article is the most recent ...
(Date:6/6/2019)... CITY (PRWEB) , ... June 05, 2019 , ... ... packaging, announces the opening of a new network station and service center in ... — and 12th in the world — with more than $1.75 billion in ...
(Date:6/4/2019)... ... June 04, 2019 , ... In’Tech Medical SAS ( ... Q1-19 revenues of $31M, up 12% from Q1-18. The growth is associated with ... & operational excellence initiatives worldwide. , Laurent Pruvost , President & CEO ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/18/2019)... (PRWEB) , ... June 17, 2019 , ... ... that they have entered into an agreement for production and manufacturing of GMP-grade ... the treatment of rhodopsin-mediated autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa (RHO-adRP) and IC-200 for the ...
(Date:6/11/2019)... ... June 10, 2019 , ... DeepDyve ... its scientific journals to DeepDyve’s rental service for peer-reviewed journals. , IOPP’s ... of more than 20 million articles, sourced from more than 15,000 journals. , ...
(Date:5/31/2019)... ... 29, 2019 , ... For many years, the primary forms of cancer treatment ... therapies. Advances in immuno-oncology have led to the advent of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T ... cell receptors known as “CARs”. The CAR enables the final product to produce chemicals ...
(Date:5/22/2019)... ... May 22, 2019 , ... Artemis (formerly Agrilyst), ... million Series A funding round co-led by Astanor Ventures and Talis ... Fund and iSelect Fund . The company has raised $11.75m to date ...
Breaking Biology Technology: