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Data from: Arachnid aloft: directed aerial descent in neotropical canopy spiders

Citation

Yanoviak, Stephen P; Munk, Yonatan; Dudley, Robert (2018), Data from: Arachnid aloft: directed aerial descent in neotropical canopy spiders, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.3g9f7

Abstract

The behaviour of directed aerial descent has been described for numerous taxa of wingless hexapods as they fall from the tropical rainforest canopy, but is not known in other terrestrial arthropods. Here, we describe similar controlled aerial behaviours for large arboreal spiders in the genus Selenops (Selenopidae). We dropped 59 such spiders from either canopy platforms or tree crowns in Panama and Peru; the majority (93%) directed their aerial trajectories towards and then landed upon nearby tree trunks. Following initial dorsoventral righting when necessary, falling spiders oriented themselves and then translated head-first towards targets; directional changes were correlated with bilaterally asymmetric motions of the anterolaterally extended forelegs. Aerial performance (i.e. the glide index) decreased with increasing body mass and wing loading, but not with projected surface area of the spider. Along with the occurrence of directed aerial descent in ants, jumping bristletails, and other wingless hexapods, this discovery of targeted gliding in selenopid spiders further indicates strong selective pressures against uncontrolled falls into the understory for arboreal taxa.

Usage Notes

Location

Panama
Peru