ABS 2022
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Something in the wind: aerial dispersal in the South American web wolf spider Aglaoctenus lagotis
Nadia Kacevas1,2,3,4, Leticia Bidegaray-Batista2, Noelia Gobel3,4,5, Macarena González1. 1Departamento de Ecología y Biología Evolutiva, Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas Clemente Estable (IIBCE), Ministerio de Educación y Cultura (MEC), Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay; 2Departamento de Biodiversidad y Genética, IIBCE, MEC, Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay; 3Área de Biodiversidad y Conservación, Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay; 4Vida Silvestre Uruguay, Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay; 5Polo de Ecología Fluvial, CENUR Litoral Norte, Universidad de la República, Paysandú, Paysandú, Uruguay

Ballooning is a particular way of aerial dispersal in some groups of spiders. By releasing silk threads that are blown by the wind, small spiders can travel long distances. Aglaoctenus lagotis is a wolf spider that lives on funnel-webs, despite the most common wandering habit of this family. Two forms of this species are present in Uruguay, one of them strictly inhabits grasslands. Its habitat specialization and the high proportion of offspring observed remaining around the maternal web suggest a scarce dispersal capacity in this species. To test if A. lagotis spiderlings are capable to disperse by the air, we performed lab and field experiments, during day and night, and we also placed sticky traps around maternal webs in the field. We registered the occurrence of pre-ballooning and ballooning behaviors in the experiments and the number of spiders stuck on the sticky traps. Ballooning was recorded both in the lab and in the field, with a higher frequency during the day, and only two spiders were registered in the traps. The typical pre-ballooning behavior Tip-toe was absent. We discuss the features of the aerial dispersion registered considering that it is a web wolf spider.