Document Detail

Spider silk reduces insect herbivory.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23193048     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The role of predators in food webs extends beyond their ability to kill and consume prey. Such trait-mediated effects occur when signals of the predator influence the behaviour of other animals. Because all spiders are silk-producing carnivores, we hypothesized that silk alone would signal other arthropods and enhance non-lethal effects of spiders. We quantified the herbivory inflicted by two beetle species on green bean plants (Phaseolus vulgaris) in the presence of silkworm silk and spider silk along with no silk controls. Single leaflets were treated and enclosed with herbivores in the laboratory and field. Another set of leaflets were treated and left to experience natural herbivory in the field. Entire plants in the field were treated with silk and enclosed with herbivores or left exposed to herbivory. In all cases, the lowest levels of herbivory occurred with spider silk treatments and, in general, silkworm silk produced intermediate levels of leaf damage. These results suggest that silk may be a mechanism for the trait-mediated impacts of spiders and that it might contribute to integrated pest management programmes.
Ann L Rypstra; Christopher M Buddle
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Biology letters     Volume:  9     ISSN:  1744-957X     ISO Abbreviation:  Biol. Lett.     Publication Date:  2013 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-11-29     Completed Date:  2013-05-09     Revised Date:  2014-02-25    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101247722     Medline TA:  Biol Lett     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  20120948     Citation Subset:  IM    
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MeSH Terms
Beetles / physiology*
Silk / chemistry*
Species Specificity
Reg. No./Substance:

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