Papers in the Biological Sciences


Date of this Version



Ecological Entomology (2019) 44: 659–664.

DOI: 10.1111/een.12741


Copyright 2019, Royal Entomological Society. Used by permission.


1. Metabolism is the fundamental process that powers life. Understanding what drives metabolism is therefore critical to our understanding of the ecology and behavior of organisms in nature.

2. Metabolic rate generally scales with body size according to a power law. However, considerable unexplained variation in metabolic rate remains after accounting for body mass with scaling functions.

3. We measured resting metabolic rates (oxygen consumption) of 227 field-caught wolf spiders. Then, we tested for effects of body mass, species, and body condition on metabolic rate.

4. Metabolic rate scales with body mass to the 0.85 power in these wolf spiders, and there are metabolic rate differences between species. After accounting for these factors, residual variation in metabolic rate is related to spider body condition (abdomen:cephalothorax ratio). Spiders with better body condition consume more oxygen.

5. These results indicate that recent foraging history is an important determinant of metabolic rate, suggesting that although body mass and taxonomic identity are important, other factors can provide helpful insights into metabolic rate variation in eco-logical communities.