Impacts of leg loss and regeneration on body condition, growth, and development time in the wolf spider Schizocosa ocreata

Wrinn, K. M.; Uetz, G. W.
July 2007
Canadian Journal of Zoology;Jul2007, Vol. 85 Issue 7, p823
Academic Journal
Autotomy (self-amputation) of appendages and subsequent regeneration is common to many taxa. These processes are known to affect foraging abilities, growth, and development time in many taxa. However, little is known about their effects in arachnids. We addressed the effects of autotomy and regeneration on body condition, growth (size and mass), and development time (molt interval) for the wolf spider Schizocosa ocreata (Hentz, 1844) in the field and laboratory. Frequency of autotomy in the field was high (11%–19%). Field-caught individuals with missing or regenerating legs had significantly lower body size, mass, and condition. To test the effects of regeneration on size, mass, and molt interval in the laboratory, we induced autotomy of one or both forelegs. Spiders regenerating two legs had reduced molt intervals, were smaller, and weighed less than spiders that were intact or regenerating one leg. Field-caught spiders that had undergone autotomy and regeneration in the laboratory exhibited reduced size, mass, and molt interval. In contrast, laboratory-reared spiders exhibited increased molt intervals but no difference in mass after regeneration. These results reveal that limb loss via autotomy is common (but potentially costly) in S. ocreata, and that environmentally mediated trade-offs between growth and development time may occur during regeneration.


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