Effects of kaolin particle films on the life span of an orb-weaver spider uri icon


  • Araniella cucurbitina (Araneae: Araneidae) is a widespread orb-weaver spider commonly found in agroecosystems. Mineral particle films such as kaolin, due to their protective or anti-feeding action, can represent an alternative to pesticides, especially in organic farming systems, but little is known about its effects on A. cucurbitina. Therefore, we tested the effect of kaolin sprays on the life span of A. cucurbitina under laboratory conditions. Four treatments were tested encompassing different exposure routes. Thus, kaolin sprays were applied on (i) the surface, (ii) the prey (fly), (iii) the spider and (iv) both spider & prey. A control group was tested with water in each treatment. Results showed that sprays of kaolin significantly affected the survival of A. curcubitina when applications were done on the surface and on both spider & prey registering a reduction of 48% and 56%, respectively. Spiders in control obtained higher probability of reaching alive at the end of the assay than those treated with kaolin. Differences observed can be explained by the feeding behavior of the species and may depend on the consumption of the web by the spider and the ratio spider/fly for body size.
  • This study was financially supported by FEDER Funds throughout Programa Operacional Factores de Competitividade e COMPETE and National Funds throughout FCT e Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, within the project EXCL/AGR-PRO/0591/2012: Olive crop protection in sustainable production under global climatic changes: linking ecological infrastructures to ecosystem functions (Grant number: 130390).

publication date

  • February 1, 2016