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Exploring the Function of Elongate Sensilla in a Wolf Spider and a Solifuge

Pallabi Kundu, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Animals communicate and acquire information from their environment in many different ways. These include specialized sense organs like specialized ears for bio-sonar in bats or large anterior median eyes in jumping spiders, and unique sensory structures like vibrissal crypts in dolphins or comb-like pectines in scorpions. Arachnids possess several types of sensory hairs or sensilla that can provide the animal with information about temperature, chemical or olfactory signals, moisture, mechanical signals, etc. This dissertation investigates the role of two such sensilla - trichobothria on wolf spiders (Schizocosa retrorsa) and elongate sensilla on the 4th pair of walking legs of solifuges (Eremobates pallipes). To understand the importance of air particle movement signals generated by male leg waving in courtship behavior of S. retrorsa, I introduced noise in the near-field of a group of spider pairs, and observed mating success in mating trials for both groups, with and without noise. I found that the spiders without noise had higher mating success and mating success was predicted by a higher rate of male leg waving. To understand the role of trichobothria in female mate choice, I ablated the trichobothria of the two pairs of forelegs of one group of female spiders and ran mating trials for both groups – trichobothria ablated and unablated. Although there was no significant difference between the mating success of the two groups, male leg waving only predictedmating success in the group with the females with unablated trichobothria. To understand the function of the elongate sensilla on the 4th pair of walking legs of E. pallipes, I made electrophysiological recordings from the base of the elongate sensilla. I found that these sensilla are sensitive to air pressure but not air particle movement. Overall, I explored the roles of elongate sensilla in S. retrorsa and E. pallipes. Future behavioral studies may explore how anthropogenic changes affect the use of air-borne signals in arachnids.

Subject Area

Ecology|Behavioral Sciences|Biology|Entomology

Recommended Citation

Kundu, Pallabi, "Exploring the Function of Elongate Sensilla in a Wolf Spider and a Solifuge" (2023). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI30417566.