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Volume 103, Issue 1-2, Pages 37-48

Observations on the Webs and Life History of Homalometa nigritarsis (Araneae: Tetragnathidae): A Spider That Lays Its Eggs in Rows

1Box 505, Woods Hole, MA 02543, USA
2Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Anesthesia, WACC Suite 324, Boston, MA 02114, USA

Received 28 April 1998

Copyright © 2000 Robert L. Edwards and Annabel D. Edwards.


The small (2.5-3.0 mm), colorful metine spider, Homalometa nigritarsis Simon 1897, Family Tetragnathidae, has previously been reported from northern Mexico, Panama and the southern islands of the Lesser Antilles (Levi 1986). In the rain forest of northeastern Puerto Rico it is most frequently found with webbing on the larger outer concave surfaces of pendulous leaves. H. nigritarsis typically makes a circular, relatively flat retreat within which the female deposits two parallel rows of naked eggs. The rows are produced at intervals; as one row hatches another replaces it shortly thereafter. Evidence of up to four generations of rows has been observed. Above the retreat, and closely aligned with it, the spider builds a nearly invisible, delicate orb web, typically from edge to edge of the leaf (Fig. 1a and b). While retaining the traditional orb-web, H. nigritarsis has adopted a unique habitat and set of life history features.