Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Thomas C. Jones

Committee Members

Darrell Moore, Lev Yampolsky


Few studies have rigorously assessed the adaptive value of diel rhythms in animals. We laid the groundwork for assessing the adaptive rhythm hypothesis by assaying diel rhythms of foraging and antipredator behavior in the orb-weaving spider Cyclosa turbinata. When confronted with a predator stimulus in experimental arenas, C. turbinata exhibited thanatosis behavior more frequently and for longer durations during the day. However, assays of antipredator response within webs revealed more complex diel patterns of avoidance behaviors and no pattern of avoidance behavior duration. Assays of prey capture behavior found that the likelihood of exhibiting prey capture behavior varied significantly across times of day and test subjects, but only test subject predicted attack latencies. Although C. turbinata foraging aggression changed over the diel cycle, we found no evidence of a trade-off between foraging behavior and predator vigilance. However, overall patterns of vigilance may be masked by diel changes in antipredator strategies.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.