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Intraspecific and Interspecific Variation of Stabilimenta in Orb Webs of Argiope Spiders (Araneae: Araneidae)

Argiope spiders decorate their orb-webs with very conspicuous while zigzag silk construct called stabilimenta. This study was conducted to describe and compare the stabilimentum structure within and among the five Argiope species -Argiope luzona, A. catenulata, A. Appensa and A. Aemula. Results showed that stabilimenta is an optional component of the orb-web across the four Argiope species. The frequency, type (cruciate or discoid) form (thickness, extend: continuous or discontinuous, number of bands or arms) vary from web to web of a single individual (intra-individual variation), same species (intraspecific variation), or webs of different species (interspecific variation) which might be correlated with variety of environmental factors such as presence of prey, predators, conspecifics and other abiotic factors. The stabilimentum types of Argiope spp. were either discoid or cruciate which vary with spider size or ontogenetic stage. Small juveniles (body length :< 0.4 cm) decorate their webs with discoid type while large adult/sub adult ones (body length: >0.6 cm) spun strictly cruciate form which vary in the number of arms (1-arm to 5-arm).

Author(s): Liza R Abrenica-Adamat

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