Papers in the Biological Sciences


Document Type


Date of this Version



Animal Cognition 23 (2020), pp. 1205–1213.

doi: 10.1007/s10071-020-01420-0


Copyright © 2020 Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. Used by permission.


Studies on whip spider navigation have focused on their ability to locate goal locations in the horizontal plane (e.g., when moving along the ground). However, many species of tropical whip spiders reside and move along surfaces in the vertical plane (e.g., trees). Under controlled laboratory conditions, the current study investigated the ability of the tropical whip spider, Paraphrynus laevifrons, to return to a home shelter on a vertical surface in the presence of numerous, similar, and competing refuge sites, as well as the distribution of navigational errors in the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal plane. We also assessed the relative importance of sensory cues originating from a previously occupied home shelter compared to the position of a previously occupied shelter in guiding shelter choice. It was found that P. laevifrons displays robust fidelity in relocating a home shelter on a vertical surface. When navigational errors did occur, they were not significantly different in all three directions. Additionally, cue-conflict test trials revealed that cues associated with an original home shelter, likely self-deposited chemical signals, were more important than sources of positional information in guiding the shelter choice of P. laevifrons.