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Fishing behavior in a giant tailess whip spider.

Ladle, R J; Velander, Kathy


R J Ladle


Whip spiders (Amblypygi) are a small and understudied group of arachnids characterised by long antenniform legs and raptorial pedipalps. Due to their nocturnal habits, secretive nature and geographical distribution there have been very few studies of feeding behaviour in this group. Here we report a remarkable foraging strategy adopted by the giant tropical whip spider Heterophrynus cheiracanthus (Gervais 1844) inhabiting rocky outcrops adjacent to mountain streams running through primary tropical rainforest on the Caribbean island of Tobago. Heterophrynus
cheiracanthus positions itself close to the stream edge on a vertical rock surface with pedipalps fully extended and antenniform legs frequently entering the shallow water. Freshwater prawns of the genus Macrobrachium are caught while still submerged in the water despite the whip spider being unable to use the trichobothria on the walking legs. Possible methods of prey detection are discussed.


Ladle, R. J., & Velander, K. (2002). Fishing behavior in a giant tailess whip spider. Journal of Arachnology, 31, (154-156). ISSN 0161-8202

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2003-01
Deposit Date Jul 14, 2008
Print ISSN 0161-8202
Publisher American Arachnological Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 31
Pages 154-156
Keywords Amplypygi; Predation; Tobago;
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