A color-mediated mutualism between two arthropod predators

Po Peng, Sean J. Blamires, Ingi Agnarsson, Hui Chen Lin, I. Min Tso*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The nature of interactions between animals varies depending on local selection pressure, trophic status of the participants, and evolutionary circumstances [1-6]. Body coloration and other visual signals may also affect animal interactions [7, 8]. Game theory posits that if one species provides a "service" in exchange for a "goods," a mutualism may ensue [9]. Mutualisms between two predators are rare because of multiple conflicts of interests [3, 10] (but see [11, 12]). We used a nocturnal system traditionally considered kleptoparasitic [12] to determine whether a mutualism ensues because the body coloration of the kleptoparasite is beneficial to the host. Specifically, we tested whether the silver body of the spider Argyrodes fissifrons (Theridiidae) attracts prey for the larger, duller spider Cyrtophora unicolor (Araneidae), which reciprocates by allowing A. fissifrons access to its web. When A. fissifrons were removed from C. unicolor webs, the webs intercepted fewer prey. Furthermore, covering the silver body parts of A. fissifrons also resulted in a reduction in prey interception by C. unicolor webs. We thus show that a mutualism between two arthropod predators can be mediated by the coloration of one species enhancing the foraging gains of another.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)172-176
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jan 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We dedicate this work to Lucia Liu Severinghaus, who introduced us to the system on Orchid Island. This work was supported by National Science Council, Taiwan (NSC) postdoctoral grant NSC 98-2811-B-029-002 to S.J.B., NSC grants NSC 99-2632-B-029-001-MY3 and NSC 100-2311-B-029-001-MY3 to H.-C.L. and I-M.T., and a Tunghai University Global Research for Ecosystems, Environment, and Society grant to H.-C.L. and I-M.T.


Dive into the research topics of 'A color-mediated mutualism between two arthropod predators'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this