Lambir Spider Web Density Project (proposal)

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Kazemde George Pagi Toko Zachary Herring

When one sees a web there is an immediate association with spiders. The construction of woven webs is inherently unique to spiders, and has therefore been a popular area of study within the world of science. The capability to produce silk is the mechanism by which spiders have been able to produce these amazingly strong structures, of which even humans have not yet been able to recreate. Spiders utilize webs as their primary means of attaining food, and variation between webs attributes to the over all fitness of individual spiders.

We seek to study the relationships and correlations between web density, spider size, and predatory success of Nephila in Lambir Hills National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia. We will study and compare webs within this single species of spiders in the primary forest of Lambir. After finding each specimen, procedure will be to measure the size of the spider, measure the length of silk within a given area of 4 cm² in order to calculate density, and will take a preliminary count and measurement of prey within the web. We will then return every 3 hours in order to resample each web for prey count and prey size. We will seek to find a range of examples of webs made by the separate species that exemplify the different amount of complexity.

After attaining sufficient data we will then utilize “R” in order to analyze and assess whether or not there is a correlation between web density, spider size, and size of prey. We will conduct a T.test to evaluate whether or not there is a significant difference between the predatory success of different sized spiders as well as spiders with different web densities. And we will conduct a correlation test to evaluate whether or not our measurements and observations are in fact correlated.