The wolf spider, Pardosa milvina (Hentz 1844), shows effective antipredator responses in the presence of chemotactile cues (silk and excreta) from a larger wolf spider, Hogna helluo (Walckenaer 1837). We examined the influence of these substratum-borne cues on male P. milvina courtship and copulatory behavior. Forty-one pairs of adult virgin male and female P. milvina were placed on substrates with or without silk and excreta from an adult female H. helluo. Using behavioral observation software (Noldus Observer® 4.1), we recorded time until courtship, courtship duration, and intensity (leg raise and body shake rates). We also measured the total number of matings, the duration of each mating, and the number and rate of successful and failed palpal insertions. While we found no difference between treatments in mating success, courtship intensity or duration, there were significant increases in time until courtship and significant decreases in palpal insertion rates under predation risk. Males under predation risk also had significantly more failed palpal insertions than males not under risk. Results suggest that predation risk has a relatively minor impact on courtship displays and mating success, but could potentially impact mate searching, sperm transfer efficiency, or copulatory courtship.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science