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Phenological and meteorological determinants of spider ballooning in an agricultural landscape

Abstract : Spiders are known to commonly use aerial dispersal, so-called ballooning, especially at juvenile stages. They produce a silk thread that allows them to rise up in the air to disperse, which serves as inbreeding avoidance or to find an optimal over-winter habitat. Studies of phenology, species and meteorological factors associated with aerial dispersal have been limited to laboratory settings, with few data obtained under natural settings and no studies to date executed in France. To understand aerial dispersal, we conducted daily sampling between 2000 and 2002 at a height of 12 m. For adults, high proportions of "ballooners'' were observed during four seasonal peaks, with dispersal most prevalent during summer, while for juveniles dispersal was protracted across summer and fall. Linyphiidae is the most abundant family among the 10,879 individuals caught. We show a significant and negative influence of high wind speeds on ballooning, an effect that increased even under low temperatures (< 19 degrees C). At wind speeds greater than 4 m.s (1) dispersal becomes difficult, and is almost impossible beyond 5.5 m.s (1). Ballooning ability is reported for the first time for several species. This study increases our knowledge on aerial dispersal in spiders in an agricultural context. Such behaviour can be seen as a survival strategy to escape from a disturbed and unstable landscape. (C) 2016 Academie des sciences. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
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https://hal-univ-rennes1.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01412999
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Submitted on : Friday, December 9, 2016 - 11:11:45 AM
Last modification on : Monday, March 26, 2018 - 3:36:07 PM

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Manon Simonneau, Cyril Courtial, Julien Pétillon. Phenological and meteorological determinants of spider ballooning in an agricultural landscape. Comptes Rendus Biologies, Elsevier Masson, 2016, 339 (9-10), pp.408--416. ⟨10.1016/j.crvi.2016.06.007⟩. ⟨hal-01412999⟩

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