Notes on Feeding Habits of Spider Nephila sp in an Acacia woodland stand, Kenya

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biological research


AIM: To investigate the feeding habits of the spider Nephila sp and document its behavioural and ecological aspects in its natural environment. METHODS: The study was carried out in Naivasha, Kenya within the Elsamere Field Study Centre (EFSC) compound located on the southern waterfront of Lake Naivasha. We used field surveys of insects and food selectivity model to record the dietary spectrum of the spider as well as examined spider selectivity behaviour for various prey. Also, field feeding experiments were used to test whether Nephila, in its natural environment, catches trapped prey according to taxon and weight and whether prey distance from the spider determines capture in the web. RESULTS: The spider's dietary items constituted five Orders of insects, with the predator showing highest selectivity for Hymenoptera, Diptera and Coleoptera. Prey captured by the webs were significantly fewer than those available to the spider. On the average however, 1.4 insects per web spider per day were available as food for the spiders in the area, perhaps accounting for the localized and densely observed spiders. Also, distance had greatest influence on prey capture by the spider while prey weight and taxon were less important factors. These factors may have played important regulatory function in optimizing spider’s foraging success in the web. CONCLUSION: This study provides insights into understanding the behavioral and ecological aspects of the spider in the natural environment. More research done under indoor controlled environment could reveal more insights into the behavioural repertoire of this species.


Journal of Biological Research, 2012;1(3), 59-62


Spider web, Electivity index, Prey capture, Prey weight


Rija AA, Mwamende KA, Hassan SN (2012). Notes on Feeding Habits of Spider Nephila sp in an Acacia Woodland Stand, Kenya. Journal of Biological Research, 1(3): 59-62 Available from: URL: http://