Spider–Plant Interactions: An Ecological Approach

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Contribution to Book

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Behaviour and Ecology of Spiders

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Spiders are among the most common animals in diverse terrestrial environments, and display a variety of lifestyles and foraging modes. This chapter represents an overview of our knowledge of spider–plant interactions. Spiders are strongly influenced by plant architecture, rather than being randomly distributed in the vegetation; structures such as rosette-shaped clusters of leaves or glandular trichomes are particularly common in plants that have associations with spiders. Spiders derive benefits from plants such as shelter and access to insect prey. In turn, they can protect plants against herbivory. However, they may also consume or deter pollinators, imposing a cost that can exceed their benefit to the plant. Specific spider–plant associations are mutualistic if spiders provide protective or nutritional benefits, thus improving plant fitness, and if plants provide shelter and suitable foraging sites to spiders. We examine several case studies of spiders living in association with plants, and describe spatial/temporal adaptations in spider–plant relationships.

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