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Reactions of Orb‐Weaving Spiders (Argiopidae) to Airborne Sounds

Frings, Hubert, Frings, Mable
Ecology 1966 v.47 no.4 pp. 578-588
Araneus, Argiope aurantia, agitation, air, hairs, insects, legs, predators, receptors, webs
The reaction of three species of web—spinning spiders, Araneus cavaticus, Argiope aurantia, and Argiope avara, in their webs and when removed from the webs, to web agitation and airborne sounds at known frequencies and intensities were studies. The reactions to web agitation and airborne sounds are not the same, and the receptors are probably different. The spiders react to web agitation by attacking the source, as they do with trapped insects; the receptors are probably proprioceptors of the legs. The spider respond to airborne sounds, from 200 to 3,000 cycle/sec at 90 to 110 db, by defensive movements; the webs are not needed for reception. The receptors are long, thin hairs which are agitated by near—field air movements of intense sound fields; they are not specialized phonoreceptors, for they are sensitive to direct bending and to air currents. Earlier discrepancies in results with airborne sounds are easily explained by the fact that intensities and distances to sound sources were not controlled. The defensive reactions to high intensity airborne sounds are probably involved, in nature, with escape from or defense against winged predators.