Data from: Habitat specialization and climate affect arthropod fitness: a comparison of generalist vs. specialist spider species in Arctic and temperate biomes
Ameline, Camille et al. (2017), Data from: Habitat specialization and climate affect arthropod fitness: a comparison of generalist vs. specialist spider species in Arctic and temperate biomes, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.gm21j
Life history trade-offs are a key notion in evolutionary biology, notably for understanding how selection shapes the diversity of traits among species. Despite the frequent study of such trade-offs, few studies synchronously investigate the effects of multiple factors, such as niche specialization and adaptation to harsh environments. We compared reproduction (fecundity and egg quality) in two sympatric couples (one habitat generalist and one specialist) of congeneric wolf spider species, in both Arctic and temperate habitats. We found that specialist species at both latitudes invested more in clutch size than did generalist species. We interpret this result as an optimization of clutch production. In the Arctic, the specialist was able to invest in fecundity with increasing body size at a much higher rate than the generalist species. In the temperate habitat, both species showed similar strategies: they increased quantity and quality of offspring relative to body size at the same rate. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that Arctic species must develop distinct strategies in order not to overlap each other’s ecological niches as a consequence of limited food resources or niche space. We emphasize the need to test the role of plasticity and environmentally mediated effects of competition on arthropod fitness.