Thermoregulatory behaviours and ecology of wolf spiders in the Australian alpine region

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Madeline Hanna

Keywords

Tasmanicosa, Alps, Lycosidae

Abstract

Research on temperature regulation in invertebrates has been limited, particularly in arachnids such as the alpine wolf spider Tasmanicosa musgravei. This study examined thermoregulatory activity in T. musgravei and whether this changed with temperature and spider size. The spatial distribution of this species and the relationship between burrow width and temperature/size were also explored. Spiders were filmed for at least one hour to determine frequency of thermoregulatory behaviours and compared to both temperature and size. Burrows and ground temperatures were also measured at different sites within Kosciusko National Park, Australia. From this data, there was no significant difference in the activity patterns at temperatures between 14-21°C nor with body mass. Body mass also had no significant effect on the spatial distribution of this species. Burrow dimensions were not affected by temperature but were significantly correlated with the size of the spider. This information may be useful in formulating management strategies for this species both currently and in response to changes in environment.

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