Honors Program

University Honors

Date of Award

5-2011

Thesis Professor(s)

Thomas C. Jones

Thesis Professor Department

Biological Sciences

Thesis Reader(s)

Darrell J. Moore, Michael A. Cody

Abstract

Circadian rhythm is a type of endogenous clock that controls daily behavioral patterns in most organisms. Spiders have been shown to exhibit both circadian and non-circadian rhythms in their behaviors. This rhythmicity may allow spiders to cope with diel changes in environmental conditions. Both diurnal and nocturnal behavior have different sets of costs and benefits to a species’ survival. Achaearanea tepidariorum is one species in which potential circadian rhythmicity has never been studied. Due to its foraging behavior, it was predicted that its daily activity would be arrhythmic. We recorded the positions within the web of forty individuals throughout the day, and then observed their daily activity via use of an actogram apparatus. Analysis of the resulting actograms and web position data revealed a significant nocturnal periodicity in the spiders’ activity, as well as possible anticipation of the daily cycle. This nocturnal periodicity, coupled with specific web-building behavior, may be the result of this species balancing the costs and benefits of predation and foraging. More studies are needed to provide more information about the circadian behavioral patterns of A. tepidariorum.

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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