Using light as a lure is an efficient predatory strategy in Arachnocampa flava, an Australian glowworm

Willis, Robyn E., White, Craig R. and Merritt, David J. (2011) Using light as a lure is an efficient predatory strategy in Arachnocampa flava, an Australian glowworm. Journal of Comparative Physiology B, 181 4: 477-486. doi:10.1007/s00360-010-0533-3


Author Willis, Robyn E.
White, Craig R.
Merritt, David J.
Title Using light as a lure is an efficient predatory strategy in Arachnocampa flava, an Australian glowworm
Formatted title
Using light as a lure is an efficient predatory strategy in Arachnocampa flava, an Australian glowworm
Journal name Journal of Comparative Physiology B   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0174-1578
1432-136X
Publication date 2011-05
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00360-010-0533-3
Volume 181
Issue 4
Start page 477
End page 486
Total pages 10
Place of publication Heidelberg, Germany
Publisher Springer
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Trap-building, sit-and-wait predators such as spiders, flies and antlions tend to have low standard metabolic rates (SMRs) but potentially high metabolic costs of trap construction. Members of the genus Arachnocampa (glowworms) use an unusual predatory strategy: larvae bioluminesce to lure positively phototropic insects into their adhesive webs. We investigated the metabolic costs associated with bioluminescence and web maintenance in larval Arachnocampa flava. The mean rate of CO2 production (CO2) during continuous bioluminescence was 4.38 μl h-1 ± 0.78 (SEM). The mean CO2 of inactive, non-bioluminescing larvae was 3.49 ± 0.35 μl h-1. The mean CO2 during web maintenance when not bioluminescencing was 8.95 ± 1.78 μl h-1, a value significantly lower than that measured during trap construction by other predatory arthropods. These results indicate that bioluminescence itself is not energetically expensive, in accordance with our prediction that a high cost of bioluminescence would render the Arachnocampa sit-and-lure predatory strategy inefficient. In laboratory experiments, both elevated feeding rates and daily web removal caused an increase in bioluminescent output. Thus, larvae increase their investment in light output when food is plentiful or when stressed through having to rebuild their webs. As light production is efficient and the cost of web maintenance is relatively low, the energetic returns associated with continuing to glow may outweigh the costs of continuing to attract prey.
Keyword Bioluminescence
Metabolic rate
Silk
Sit-and-wait predator
Web
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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Created: Thu, 14 Apr 2011, 11:19:04 EST by Dr Craig White on behalf of School of Biological Sciences