Precopulatory sexual cannibalism in fishing spiders (Dolomedes triton)

A role for behavioral syndromes

James Johnson, Andrew Sih

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

159 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Precopulatory sexual cannibalism (predation of a potential mate prior to copulation) offers an extreme example of intersexual conflict, a current focus in behavioral ecology. The 'aggressive-spillover' hypothesis, posits that precopulatory sexual cannibalism may be a nonadaptive by-product of a general syndrome of voracity (aggression towards prey) that is expressed in multiple behavioral contexts. In this view, selection favoring high levels of voracity throughout ontogeny spills over to cause sexual cannibalism in adult females even when it is not necessarily beneficial. Using the North American fishing spider, Dolomedes triton, we present the first in depth test of this hypothesis. We found support for three aspects of the spillover hypothesis. First, voracity towards hetero-specific prey results in high feeding rates, large adult size, and increased fecundity. Second, juvenile and adult voracity are positively correlated (i.e., voracity is a consistent trait over ontogeny). Third, voracity towards hetero-specific prey is indeed positively correlated with precopulatory sexual cannibalism. Assays of antipredator behavior further revealed positive correlations between boldness towards predators, voracity and precopulatory sexual cannibalism. Overall, our results support the notion that precopulatory sexual cannibalism in D. triton is part of a behavioral syndrome spanning at least three major contexts: foraging, predator avoidance, and mating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-396
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume58
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dolomedes triton
Dolomedes
Cannibalism
Spiders
cannibalism
spider
fishing
ontogeny
predator
predators
Copulation
behavioral ecology
copulation
aggression
Ecology
Aggression
Fertility
fecundity
predation
foraging

Keywords

  • Aggressive-spillover hypothesis
  • Fishing spiders
  • Sexual cannibalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

Cite this

Precopulatory sexual cannibalism in fishing spiders (Dolomedes triton) : A role for behavioral syndromes. / Johnson, James; Sih, Andrew.

In: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Vol. 58, No. 4, 08.2005, p. 390-396.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{558e203b987046b781d821d0664321b7,
title = "Precopulatory sexual cannibalism in fishing spiders (Dolomedes triton): A role for behavioral syndromes",
abstract = "Precopulatory sexual cannibalism (predation of a potential mate prior to copulation) offers an extreme example of intersexual conflict, a current focus in behavioral ecology. The 'aggressive-spillover' hypothesis, posits that precopulatory sexual cannibalism may be a nonadaptive by-product of a general syndrome of voracity (aggression towards prey) that is expressed in multiple behavioral contexts. In this view, selection favoring high levels of voracity throughout ontogeny spills over to cause sexual cannibalism in adult females even when it is not necessarily beneficial. Using the North American fishing spider, Dolomedes triton, we present the first in depth test of this hypothesis. We found support for three aspects of the spillover hypothesis. First, voracity towards hetero-specific prey results in high feeding rates, large adult size, and increased fecundity. Second, juvenile and adult voracity are positively correlated (i.e., voracity is a consistent trait over ontogeny). Third, voracity towards hetero-specific prey is indeed positively correlated with precopulatory sexual cannibalism. Assays of antipredator behavior further revealed positive correlations between boldness towards predators, voracity and precopulatory sexual cannibalism. Overall, our results support the notion that precopulatory sexual cannibalism in D. triton is part of a behavioral syndrome spanning at least three major contexts: foraging, predator avoidance, and mating.",
keywords = "Aggressive-spillover hypothesis, Fishing spiders, Sexual cannibalism",
author = "James Johnson and Andrew Sih",
year = "2005",
month = "8",
doi = "10.1007/s00265-005-0943-5",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "58",
pages = "390--396",
journal = "Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology",
issn = "0340-5443",
publisher = "Springer Verlag",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Precopulatory sexual cannibalism in fishing spiders (Dolomedes triton)

T2 - A role for behavioral syndromes

AU - Johnson, James

AU - Sih, Andrew

PY - 2005/8

Y1 - 2005/8

N2 - Precopulatory sexual cannibalism (predation of a potential mate prior to copulation) offers an extreme example of intersexual conflict, a current focus in behavioral ecology. The 'aggressive-spillover' hypothesis, posits that precopulatory sexual cannibalism may be a nonadaptive by-product of a general syndrome of voracity (aggression towards prey) that is expressed in multiple behavioral contexts. In this view, selection favoring high levels of voracity throughout ontogeny spills over to cause sexual cannibalism in adult females even when it is not necessarily beneficial. Using the North American fishing spider, Dolomedes triton, we present the first in depth test of this hypothesis. We found support for three aspects of the spillover hypothesis. First, voracity towards hetero-specific prey results in high feeding rates, large adult size, and increased fecundity. Second, juvenile and adult voracity are positively correlated (i.e., voracity is a consistent trait over ontogeny). Third, voracity towards hetero-specific prey is indeed positively correlated with precopulatory sexual cannibalism. Assays of antipredator behavior further revealed positive correlations between boldness towards predators, voracity and precopulatory sexual cannibalism. Overall, our results support the notion that precopulatory sexual cannibalism in D. triton is part of a behavioral syndrome spanning at least three major contexts: foraging, predator avoidance, and mating.

AB - Precopulatory sexual cannibalism (predation of a potential mate prior to copulation) offers an extreme example of intersexual conflict, a current focus in behavioral ecology. The 'aggressive-spillover' hypothesis, posits that precopulatory sexual cannibalism may be a nonadaptive by-product of a general syndrome of voracity (aggression towards prey) that is expressed in multiple behavioral contexts. In this view, selection favoring high levels of voracity throughout ontogeny spills over to cause sexual cannibalism in adult females even when it is not necessarily beneficial. Using the North American fishing spider, Dolomedes triton, we present the first in depth test of this hypothesis. We found support for three aspects of the spillover hypothesis. First, voracity towards hetero-specific prey results in high feeding rates, large adult size, and increased fecundity. Second, juvenile and adult voracity are positively correlated (i.e., voracity is a consistent trait over ontogeny). Third, voracity towards hetero-specific prey is indeed positively correlated with precopulatory sexual cannibalism. Assays of antipredator behavior further revealed positive correlations between boldness towards predators, voracity and precopulatory sexual cannibalism. Overall, our results support the notion that precopulatory sexual cannibalism in D. triton is part of a behavioral syndrome spanning at least three major contexts: foraging, predator avoidance, and mating.

KW - Aggressive-spillover hypothesis

KW - Fishing spiders

KW - Sexual cannibalism

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=22844446041&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=22844446041&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1007/s00265-005-0943-5

DO - 10.1007/s00265-005-0943-5

M3 - Article

VL - 58

SP - 390

EP - 396

JO - Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

JF - Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

SN - 0340-5443

IS - 4

ER -