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The Effect of Alien Predatory Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on Hawaiian Endemic Spiders (Araneae: Tetragnathidae)

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Title:The Effect of Alien Predatory Ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on Hawaiian Endemic Spiders (Araneae: Tetragnathidae)
Authors:Gillespie, Rosemary G.
Reimer, Neil
Date Issued:Jan 1993
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Gillespie RG, Reimer N. 1993. The effect of alien predatory ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on Hawaiian endemic spiders (Araneae: Tetragnathidae). Pac Sci 47(1): 21-33.
Abstract:The fauna of the Hawaiian Islands is characterized by spectacular
species radiations with high levels of endemism, which is coupled with an extreme
vulnerability to invasion by alien species. Of all alien invertebrate predators, ants
are most notorious in their effect on native Hawaiian biota. This study examined
distribution of ants in mesic and wet forests throughout the Hawaiian Islands
and the extent to which they overlap the range of representatives of a lineage
of endemic Hawaiian invertebrates, the genus Tetragnatha (Araneae: Tetragnathidae).
Two species, Pheidole megacephala (F.) and Anoplolepis longipes
(Jerdon), were implicated in the exclusion of native spiders from native and
disturbed forest. One species, Solenopsis papuana Emery, showed extensive
overlap in its range with that of the native spiders. However, we found a
significant inverse relationship between the abundance of S. papuana in an area
and the diversity of the indigenous Tetragnatha. Interactions between the spiders
and the two species of ants, P. megacephala and A. longipes, were conducted in
the laboratory and indicated that the spiders were very vulnerable to attack by
these ants. Alien spiders appear to tolerate the presence of ants because they
have either a strong exoskeleton, can appendotomize their legs, or else are
capable of wrapping the ant in silk. Spiders that normally coexist with ants
appear to use one or more of these methods for defense. The riparian existence
of the genus Tetragnatha outside Hawaii may protect it from predation by ants.
In Hawaii, where their habitat preference is no longer restricted to riparian sites,
they may be extremely vulnerable to these alien predators.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 47, Number 1, 1993

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