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Data from: Spider webs, stable isotopes and molecular gut content analysis: multiple lines of evidence support trophic niche differentiation in a community of Hawaiian spiders

Citation

Kennedy, Susan et al. (2019), Data from: Spider webs, stable isotopes and molecular gut content analysis: multiple lines of evidence support trophic niche differentiation in a community of Hawaiian spiders, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.29p63mb

Abstract

1. Adaptive radiations are typically characterized by niche partitioning among their constituent species. Trophic niche partitioning is particularly important in predatory animals, which rely on limited food resources for survival. 2. We test for trophic niche partitioning in an adaptive radiation of Hawaiian Tetragnatha spiders, which have diversified in situ on the Hawaiian Islands. We focus on a community of nine species belonging to two different clades, one web building and the other actively hunting, which co-occur in wet forest on East Maui. We hypothesize that trophic niches differ significantly both 1) among species within a clade, indicating food resource partitioning, and 2) between the two clades, corresponding with their differences in foraging strategy. 3. To assess niches of the spider species, we measure a) web architecture, the structure of the hunting tool, and b) site choice, the physical placement of the web in the habitat. We then test whether differences in these parameters translate into meaningful differences in trophic niche by measuring c) stable isotope signatures of carbon and nitrogen in the spiders’ tissues, and d) gut content of spiders based on metabarcoding data. 4. We find significant interspecific differences in web architecture and site choice. Importantly, these differences are reflected in stable isotope signatures among the five web-building species, as well as significant isotopic differences between web-builders and active hunters. Gut content data also show interspecific and inter-clade differences. Pairwise overlaps of web architecture between species are positively correlated with overlaps of isotopic signature. 5. Our results reveal trophic niche partitioning among species within each clade, as well as between the web-building and actively hunting clades. Based on the correlation between web architecture and stable isotopes, it appears that the isotopic signatures of spiders’ tissues are influenced by architectural differences among their webs. Our findings indicate an important link between web structure, microhabitat preference and diet in the Hawaiian Tetragnatha.

Usage Notes

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: DGE 1106400

Location

Hawaii