Changes to web architecture of Leucauge volupis (Araneae: Tetragnathidae) induced by the parasitoid Hymenoepimecis jordanensis (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae)

in Behaviour
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Some new cases of ectoparasitoid wasps from the Polysphincta genus-group manipulating the behaviour of host spiders have been described in recent years, indicating that the modification of normal web structure is the rule rather than an exception as the outcome of these interactions. In most cases, orb web diameter and the number of adhesive spirals are reduced, which decreases the probability of web damage from the interception of insects on the viscid threads during the development of the parasitoid within the cocoon. In this study, we describe a new interaction between the host spider Leucauge volupis and the recently described parasitoid Hymenoepimecis jordanensis. Web modifications induced by larvae in their last instar, in this case, are different to those described for two other Leucauge species attacked by Hymenoepimecis spp., L. argyra and L. roseosignatha. The cocoon webs constructed by the parasitized L. volupis are similar to those webs constructed by immature individuals, presenting a lower tangle, which may increase the stability of the web or offer additional physical protection for the cocoon. As in other previously described cases, sticky spirals are absent from cocoon webs. However, the photographs of webs constructed by spiders carrying second instar larvae indicated that the reduction in spirals begins before the construction of the cocoon web. These webs remain functional, being substantially modified only when the larvae reach the third instar. Variation among cocoon web designs of congeneric hosts attacked by distinct Hymenoepimecis species indicate that the substance used for host manipulation may vary in concentration and/or composition. Alternatively, distinct host responses may occur to the same substances.

Changes to web architecture of Leucauge volupis (Araneae: Tetragnathidae) induced by the parasitoid Hymenoepimecis jordanensis (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae)

in Behaviour



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    (a) Normal web of an unparasitized L. volupis adult female; (b) L. volupis female with a third instar larva attached to its abdomen; (c) upper view of a cocoon web without hub loops; (d) lateral view of the same cocoon web; (e) cocoon web with the cocoon attached to hubs with silk loops. This figure is published in colour in the online edition of this journal, which can be accessed via

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    Webs of immature L. volupis individuals. (a) Upper view of a web showing the same structure of a cocoon web. The arrows indicate the hub of an orb lacking sticky spirals. Below this structure there is a complex tangle; (b) lateral view of the same web; (c, d) lateral views of two other webs constructed by immature spiders. In (c) there is a tangle below the orb and in (d) there are also some threads above the orb.

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    Comparison of percentage of expected and observed frequency of size distribution.

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    Normal and modified webs of (a) Leucauge roseosignata and (b) Leucauge volupis. This figure is published in colour in the online edition of this journal, which can be accessed via

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