Nutrient balance affects foraging behaviour of a trap-building predator.
Mayntz D., Toft S., Vollrath F.
Predator foraging may be affected by previous prey capture, but it is unknown how nutrient balance affects foraging behaviour. Here, we use a trap-building predator to test whether nutrients from previous prey captures affect foraging behaviour. We fed orb-weaving spiders (Zygiella x-notata) prey flies of different nutrient composition and in different amounts during their first instar and measured the subsequent frequency of web building and aspects of web architecture. We found that both the likelihood of web building and the number of radii in the web were affected by prey nutrient composition while prey availability affected capture area and mesh height. Our results show that both the balance of nutrients in captured prey and the previous capture rate may affect future foraging behaviour of predators.