Consistency of females' stridulatory behaviour during inter‐sexual interactions in spiders

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2019
Authors:Calbacho‐Rosa, Cargnelutti, Córdoba‐Aguilar, Peretti
Keywords:communication, copulatory attempts, Holocnemus pluchei, pholcid, repeatability, stridulation

In a sexual context, it is expected that females base their choice of mate on the be‐ haviours that males perform during courtship, as such behaviours are associated with the male's mate quality. Stridulation is one form of female communication in arthropods, for example, spiders. In spiders, stridulation during sexual interactions is relatively common in some groups but mainly restricted to males. In the pholcid spider Holocnemus pluchei (Pholcidae), both sexes have stridulatory organs. The aims of the present work were to: (a) determine possible differences in the frequency of occurrence of stridulation between females during inter‐sexual interactions, (b) es‐ tablish female consistency in stridulation along repeated interactions and (c) analyse if female stridulation is associated with certain male behaviours during pre‐copula‐ tory courtship and with male size. Female H. pluchei showed highly repeatable dif‐ ferences in their frequency of stridulation across consecutive encounters with males (ICC = 0.64). However, only a modest level of repeatability was detected in total time females spent stridulating across trials (ICC = 0.19). Females’ mean stridulatory be‐ haviour did not change across ten consecutive trials spread across 20 days, and their behaviour was apparently unaffected by male persistence of copulatory attempted and/or size. These results imply that the frequency of female stridulatory behaviour is a trait that is highly characteristic of each individual. Finally, our work opens the door to determine whether behavioural consistency manifests in other ecological contexts and their functional implications.

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith