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Candy-striped spider leaf and habitat preferences for egg deposition

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jordan CuffORCiD, Aifionn Evans, Angel Porteous, Julia Quinonez, Professor Darren Evans



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Candy-striped spiders (Enoplognatha spp.; Araneae: Theridiidae) are among Britain's commonest theridiid spiders and are potential immigrant biocontrol agents of many pests in arable fields. Though the presence of these spiders in proximity to agriculture is dependent on the availability of suitable leaves for their egg deposition, their preference for different plant species and habitat types has not been fully investigated.Candy-striped spiders were observed in leaf-rolls during transect surveys of semi-natural habitats (hedgerow, woodland and grassland) adjacent to oilseed rape fields at 10 sites across northeast England in August and September 2021. The local plant community was surveyed and compared against the leaves used by candy-striped spiders via null models.Candy-striped spiders preferentially deposited their eggs in hedgerow, demonstrating relative avoidance of woodland and grassland. They exhibited preference for bramble, common nettle and hogweed leaves, but also used those of dock, ash and blackthorn. Candy-striped spiders appeared to preferentially use leaves with roughly equal length and width and avoided longer, narrower leaves irrespective of their total size.The leaves used by candy-striped spiders are taxonomically broad, but share some morphological commonalities. Candy-striped spiders exhibit some degree of generalism, regularly utilizing suboptimal leaves in sites lacking their preferences. The availability of preferred plants for these spiders in agriculturally proximate semi-natural habitat may enhance their possible contribution to biocontrol.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cuff JP, Evans SA, Porteous IA, Quinonez J, Evans DM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Agricultural and Forest Entomology

Year: 2022

Volume: 24

Issue: 3

Pages: 422-431

Print publication date: 01/08/2022

Online publication date: 27/04/2022

Acceptance date: 10/04/2022

Date deposited: 30/04/2022

ISSN (print): 1461-9555

ISSN (electronic): 1461-9563

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/afe.12504


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Funder referenceFunder name
European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 773554 (EcoStack).