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Acta botánica mexicana

On-line version ISSN 2448-7589Print version ISSN 0187-7151

Abstract

ARANGO, Angélica M et al. Effect of the spider Peucetia viridans (Oxyopidae) on floral visitors and seed set of Cnidoscolus multilobus (Euphorbiaceae). Act. Bot. Mex [online]. 2012, n.100, pp.1-14. ISSN 2448-7589.

We studied the interaction between the plant Cnidoscolus multilobus, its floral visitors and the predator spider Peucetia viridans. The diet of P. viridans was composed exclusively of arthropods (spiders 32%, insects 68%). Body length of prey was 5.9 ± 1.0 mm, and prey size range was 11.0 ± 0.4 mm (i.e. 0.14-1.3 times larger than the spider). Based on feeding frequency and time available for prey capture and feeding, one spider may capture up to 3.9 prey items per day, depending on the time of year. From June to October 1998 we tested the number of floral visits affected by the presence or absence of spiders (visual effect). Four treatments were tested on inflorescences: (1) no spiders, (2) with spider, (3) with modified spider (carapace painted red), and (4) with decoy spider. We found two patterns depending on the response of floral visitors to "invisible" spider treatments (with and no spiders) and "visible" spider treatments (painted and decoy). These patterns were closely associated with the abundance of visitors. Using panicle enclosures, we estimated the effect of spider presence on seed set. In months with lower abundance of floral visitors (June, July and October), panicles without spiders had significantly more seeds than those with spiders. Whereas in August and September, the months with the highest number of floral visitors, there were no significant differences between treatments. Our results suggest that floral visitors were able to recognize visible spiders and avoid the inflorescences that have them, but were unable to recognize the presence of unpainted P. viridans. Since many of those visitors are potential pollinators, spider presence may indirectly decrease seed set by C. multilobus on months when floral visitors are less abundant.

Keywords : extrafloral nectaries; Mexico; tritrophic systems; Veracruz.

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