Evidence for competition between carnivorous plants and spiders.

04:52 EDT 7th July 2015 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Evidence for competition between carnivorous plants and spiders."

Several studies have demonstrated that competition between disparate taxa can be important in determining community structure, yet surprisingly, to our knowledge, no quantitative studies have been conducted on competition between carnivorous plants and animals. To examine potential competition between these taxa, we studied dietary and microhabitat overlap between pink sundews (Drosera capillaris) and wolf spiders (Lycosidae) in the field, and conducted a laboratory experiment examining the effects of wolf spiders on sundew fitness. In the field, we found that sundews and spiders had a high dietary overlap with each other and with the available arthropod prey. Associations between sundews and spiders depended on spatial scale: both sundews and spiders were found more frequently in quadrats with more abundant prey, but within quadrats, spiders constructed larger webs and located them further away from sundews as the total sundew trapping area increased, presumably to reduce competition. Spiders also constructed larger webs when fewer prey were available. In the laboratory, our experiment revealed that spiders can significantly reduce sundew fitness. Our findings suggest that members of the plant and animal kingdoms can and do compete.

Affiliation

Department of Integrative Biology, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33620, USA. dejennin@mail.usf.edu

Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society
ISSN: 1471-2954
Pages: 3001-8

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Arthropods of the class ARACHNIDA, order Araneae. Except for mites and ticks, spiders constitute the largest order of arachnids, with approximately 37,000 species having been described. The majority of spiders are harmless, although some species can be regarded as moderately harmful since their bites can lead to quite severe local symptoms. (From Barnes, Invertebrate Zoology, 5th ed, p508; Smith, Insects and Other Arthropods of Medical Importance, 1973, pp424-430)

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