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Psyche
Volume 2012, Article ID 898721, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/898721
Research Article

Nectar Meals of a Mosquito-Specialist Spider

1Department of Biological Sciences, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Nairobi 00200, Kenya
2International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Thomas Odhiambo Campus, Mbita Point 40350, Kenya
3School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand

Received 10 September 2012; Accepted 8 November 2012

Academic Editor: Louis S. Hesler

Copyright © 2012 Josiah O. Kuja et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Evarcha culicivora, an East African jumping spider, is known for feeding indirectly on vertebrate blood by actively choosing blood-carrying mosquitoes as prey. Using cold-anthrone tests to detect fructose, we demonstrate that E. culicivora also feeds on nectar. Field-collected individuals, found on the plant Lantana camara, tested positive for plant sugar (fructose). In the laboratory, E. culicivora tested positive for fructose after being kept with L. camara or one of another ten plant species (Aloe vera, Clerodendron magnifica, Hamelia patens, Lantana montevideo, Leonotis nepetaefolia, Parthenium hysterophorus, Ricinus communis, Senna didymobotrya, Striga asiatica, and Verbena trivernia). Our findings demonstrate that E. culicivora acquires fructose from its natural diet and can ingest fructose directly from plant nectaries. However, experiments in the laboratory also show that E. culicivora can obtain fructose indirectly by feeding on prey that have fed on fructose, implying a need to consider this possibility when field-collected spiders test positive for fructose. In laboratory tests, 53.5% of 1,215 small juveniles, but only 3.4% of 622 adult E. culicivora, left with plants for 24 hours, were positive for fructose. These findings, along with the field data, suggest that fructose is especially important for early-instar juveniles of E. culicivora.