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Differential parasitism of native and invasive widow spider egg sacs

Cite this dataset

Mowery, Monica; Arabesky, Valeria; Lubin, Yael; Segoli, Michal (2022). Differential parasitism of native and invasive widow spider egg sacs [Dataset]. Dryad.


During colonization, invasive species establish and spread to new locations, where they may have an advantage over native species. One such advantage may be avoidance of predators or parasites by means of better defences or due to lower suitability as a host. We conducted field surveys and lab behavioural experiments to investigate the differential susceptibility of two widow spider species—one native to Israel, the white widow spider Latrodectus pallidus, and one invasive species, the brown widow spider, Latrodectus geometricus—to an egg sac parasitoid wasp, Philolema latrodecti. In collections of egg sacs from six paired sites of L. geometricus and L. pallidus populations in the Negev Desert, Israel, we found higher parasitism rates on the egg sacs of the native L. pallidus. In no-choice trials, we found that wasps were more likely to parasitize and oviposited longer on L. pallidus egg sacs than on L. geometricus egg sacs. In two-choice tests with spider webs and egg sacs, parasitoids made first contact with L. pallidus webs more often and faster. After developing inside of L. pallidus egg sacs, more parasitoids emerged and were larger than those emerging from L. geometricus egg sacs. Potentially better defence of the L. geometricus egg sacs as well as the parasitoid’s fitness advantages gained from parasitizing L. pallidus egg sacs may explain the higher parasitism rate in the native species. Our results suggest that the invasion and establishment success of L. geometricus is due, in part, to its ability to escape parasitism.


These data are of field collections to determine parasitism rate by Philolema latrodecti of Latrodectus pallidus and Latrodectus geometricus egg sacs from six paired sites in the Negev Desert, Israel. Data of laboratory observations of P. latrodecti behaviours and parasitism in no-choice and choice tests are included, as well as parasitoid development, emergence, and body size. The data are raw values from lab observations and measurements.

Usage notes

The readme file contains an explanation of each of the variables in the dataset and its measurement units. Missing or unavailable values are indicated with "null". Information on how the measurements were done can be found in the associated manuscript referenced above.


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