Mgr. Eva Líznarová, Ph.D.
RNDr. František Šťáhlavský, Ph.D.
Mgr. Lenka Sentenská, Ph.D.
prof. Mgr. Stanislav Pekár, Ph.D.
prof. Mgr. Stano Pekár, Ph.D.

Acoustic signalling is widespread in arthropods and appears to be common in spiders, but the function is still unknown in many species. Acoustic signals have several functions and can be used both in interspecific (e.g., to threaten potential predators) and intraspecific (during courtship) communication. In our study, we investigated the intraspecific role of stridulation in the araneophagous Palpimanus spider (Araneae: Palpimanidae). These spiders are specialised in hunting other spiders at all ontogenetic stages. We hypothesised that stridulation is used to avoid cannibalism. We investigated the morphology of the stridulatory apparatus, analysed the acoustic signals that various stages produce, and found two types of stridulation, low- and high-intensity stridulation. Then, we investigated the presence of cannibalism between individuals of variable body size and the use of stridulation during interactions. We found that cannibalism occurred only when the prosoma size difference between the two opponents was more than 200%. Then, we paired conspecific large control Palpimanus with smaller control individual or with individual whose stridulatory organs were impaired and found that impaired spiders suffered significantly higher cannibalism than the control spiders. Our study reveals a novel role of acoustic communication in the conspecific recognition of araneophagous spiders.

Líznarová E., Sentenská L., Šťáhlavský F. & Pekár S. (2018): Stridulation can suppress cannibalism in a specialised araneophagous predator. Behav. Ecol. Soc. 72: 127. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-018-2541-3