Kleptobiosis in Spiders

  • Fritz Vollrath


To a predator the pursuit of prey can be costly in time and reserves, or risky because injuries may occur. Spiders are predators and have evolved a multitude of different hunting methods (Bristowe 1941). We can assume that these foraging strategies, as different as they may be, all have in common that these costs are cut while calory intake is optimized (Schoener 1971). Whatever the method of hunting, potential prey has to be: awaited, spotted, identified, attacked, killed, transported to some convenient retreat, and, before consumption, pumped full with digestive enzymes. In addition some spiders invest heavily in the material and construction of a web (Prestwich 1977). All of these activities incur some costs for the predator, which can be measured in time, risk or calories. Spiders rarely encounter conditions of prey superabundance, generally food is a limiting resource. If it is not prey, then structural support becomes the limiting resource for web spiders (Riechert and Luczack 1982; Vollrath, this volume).


Prey Item Small Insect Capture Area Social Spider Hunting Spider 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fritz Vollrath
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ZoologyOxfordGreat Britain

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