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Spiders of the genus Argyrodes (Theridiidae), also called dewdrop spiders, occur worldwide. They are best known as kleptoparasites: they steal other spider's prey. They invade and reside in their host's web even though they can spin their own webs. However, the relationship can sometimes be commensal or even mutual since the dewdrop spider can feed on small trapped insects that are not eaten by the host. Some species can even prey upon the host. Many species are black with silvery markings. Most species are relatively small. For example, A. incursus has a body length of 3–4.5 mm while A. fissifrons has a body length of about 12 mm.

Distribution

Most Argyrodes are found in the tropics although 15 species are found in the United Statesmarker. Dewdrop spiders prefer large webs and clustered webs compared to small and isolated ones. Large webs tend to have more kleptoparasites than smaller ones. Isolated webs tend to have lesser number of kleptoparasites compared to clustered webs of the same size.

Name

The genus name is derived from Greek argyros "silver" and -odes "like".

Footnotes

  1. Tso 2000
  2. Guarisco 1999
  3. Agnarsson 2003


References



Further reading

  • Koh, T.H. & Li, D. (2002). Population characteristics of a kleptoparasitic spider Argyrodes flavescens (Araenae: Theridiidae) and its impact on a host spider Nephila pilipes (Araneae: Tetragnathidae) from Singapore. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 50(1):153-160. PDF



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