Data from: Caught in the web: spider web architecture affects prey specialization and spider–prey stoichiometric relationships
Ludwig, Lorraine et al. (2019), Data from: Caught in the web: spider web architecture affects prey specialization and spider–prey stoichiometric relationships, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.p2t0t00
1. Quantitative approaches to predator-prey interactions are central to understanding the structure of food webs and their dynamics. Different predatory strategies may influence the occurrence and strength of trophic interactions likely affecting the rates and magnitudes of energy and nutrient transfer between trophic levels, and the stoichiometry of predator-prey interactions. 2. Here, we used spider-prey interactions as a model system to investigate whether different spider web architectures—orb, tangle, and sheet-tangle—affect the composition and diet breadth of spiders and whether these, in turn, influence stoichiometric relationships between spiders and their prey. 3. Our results showed that web architecture partially affects the richness and composition of the prey captured by spiders. Tangle-web spiders were specialists, capturing a restricted subset of the prey community (primarily Diptera), whereas orb and sheet-tangle web spiders were generalists, capturing a broader range of prey types. 4. We also observed elemental imbalances between spiders and their prey. In general, spiders had higher requirements for both nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) than those provided by their prey even after accounting for prey biomass. Larger P imbalances for tangle-web spiders than for orb and sheet-tangle web spiders suggest that trophic specialization may impose strong elemental constraints for these predators unless they display behavioural or physiological mechanisms to cope with nutrient limitation.