The Great Silk Alternative Multiple Co-Evolution of Web Loss and Sticky Hairs in Spiders

Wolff, Jonas O.; Nentwig, Wolfgang; Gorb, Stanislav N. (2013). The Great Silk Alternative Multiple Co-Evolution of Web Loss and Sticky Hairs in Spiders. PLoS ONE, 8(5), e62682. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0062682

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Spiders are the most important terrestrial predators among arthropods. Their ecological success is reflected by a high biodiversity and the conquest of nearly every terrestrial habitat. Spiders are closely associated with silk, a material, often seen to be responsible for their great ecological success and gaining high attention in life sciences. However, it is often overlooked that more than half of all Recent spider species have abandoned web building or never developed such an adaptation. These species must have found other, more economic solutions for prey capture and retention, compensating the higher energy costs of increased locomotion activity. Here we show that hairy adhesive pads (scopulae) are closely associated with the convergent evolution of a vagrant life style, resulting in highly diversified lineages of at least, equal importance as the derived web building taxa. Previous studies often highlighted the idea that scopulae have the primary function of assisting locomotion, neglecting the fact that only the distal most pads (claw tufts) are suitable for those purposes. The former observations, that scopulae are used in prey capture, are largely overlooked. Our results suggest the scopulae evolved as a substitute for silk in controlling prey and that the claw tufts are, in most cases, a secondary development. Evolutionary trends towards specialized claw tufts and their composition from a low number of enlarged setae to a dense array of slender ones, as well as the secondary loss of those pads are discussed further. Hypotheses about the origin of the adhesive setae and their diversification throughout evolution are provided.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Community Ecology

UniBE Contributor:

Nentwig, Wolfgang

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

1932-6203

Publisher:

Public Library of Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Alexander Strauss

Date Deposited:

27 Mar 2014 16:35

Last Modified:

02 Jan 2015 20:07

Publisher DOI:

10.1371/journal.pone.0062682

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.45246

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/45246

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