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SFS Annual Meeting

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INTRASPECIFIC PREDATION AMONG WATER STRIDERS (VELIIDAE, HEMIPTERA) AS STRONG AS INTERSPECIFIC PREDATION BY RIPARIAN SPIDER (WENDILGARDA CLARA)

Intraspecific predation among water striders (Veliidae, Hemiptera) as strong as interspecific predation by a riparian spider (Wendilgarda clara) ABSTRACT Intraspecific and interspecific predation, are important processes that determine species interactions. Wendilgarda clara is a theridiosomatid spider abundant in tropical streams that attach their silk lines to the water surface to snare floating insects. They rely on structural features of the riparian zone for web building. To test how substrate complexity will affect the capture rate of Veliidae by W. clara we conducted an experiment by creating eight mesocosms of varying substrate complexity. We measured the mortality rates and number of web attachment points between mesocosm treatments. There were no significant differences between treatment groups, for both Veliidae mortality rate and web attachment points. We propose that these results may show evidence of W. clara behavioral plasticity and adaptation to frequently changing ecosystems. Intraspecific predation rates among Veliidae may be more significant than interspecific predation by W. clara. This study offers evidence that top-down control of Veliidae by W. clara along headwater streams in Puerto Rico may be relatively low.

Mariely Vega (Primary Presenter/Author,Co-Presenter/Co-Author), University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras Campus, Mariely.vega2@upr.edu;