allometry of CNS size and consequences of miniaturization in orb-weaving and cleptoparasitic spiders
Quesada, Rosannette | Triana, Emilia | Vargas, Gloria | Douglass, John K. | Seid, Marc A. | Niven, Jeremy E. | Eberhard, William G. | Wcislo, William T.
Allometric studies of the gross neuroanatomy of adults from nine species of spiders from six web-weaving families (Orbicularia), and nymphs from six of these species, show that very small spiders resemble other small animals in having disproportionately larger central nervous systems (CNSs) relative to body mass when compared with large-bodied forms. Small spiderlings and minute adult spiders have similar relative CNS volumes. The relatively large CNS of a very small spider occupies up to 78% of the cephalothorax volume. The CNSs of very small spiders extend into their coxae, occupying as much as 26% of the profile area of the coxae of an Anapisona simoni spiderling (body mass < 0.005 mg). Such modifications occur both in species with minute adults, and in tiny spiderlings of species with large-bodied adults. In at least one such species, Leucauge mariana, the CNS of the spiderling extends into a prominent ventral bulge of the sternum. Tiny spiders also have reduced neuronal cell body diameters. The adults of nearly all orbicularian spiders weave prey capture webs, as do the spiderlings, beginning with second instar nymphs. Comparable allometric relations occur in adults of both orb-weaving and cleptoparasitic species, indicating that this behavioral difference is not reflected in differences in gross CNS allometry.Show more [+] Less [-]