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2013 Abstracts

Ability of Wolf Spider’s (Lycosidae) to Assess Their Nutritional Needs and Deficiencies

Sarah Miller, Southern Utah University


As humans, we have the ability to change our diets if we are deficient in any specific nutrient. Many animals have the ability to change their diet if they are deficient in nutrients. However, for many carnivores, it is generally thought that a prey item will have the same nutritional composition as the predator body composition. Carnivores are limited nutritionally in their diet. This means that they only get nutrients from the prey that they are able to locate to consume. This study is investigating prey choice of invertebrate predators (wolf spiders) when their prey item has been altered to be deficient in one specific nutrient (lipid or protein). I predict that the spiders will be able to choose the correct prey item for the nutrient in which they are deficient. The total weight of flies eaten in each treatment will be measured to determine if wolf spiders select prey items based on the nutrient content of the prey. Results will be analyzed using a nested ANOVA.