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PLOS ONE  2012 

Intersexual Trophic Niche Partitioning in an Ant-Eating Spider (Araneae: Zodariidae)

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0014603

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Abstract:

Divergence in trophic niche between the sexes may function to reduce competition between the sexes (“intersexual niche partitioning hypothesis”), or may be result from differential selection among the sexes on maximizing reproductive output (“sexual selection hypothesis”). The latter may lead to higher energy demands in females driven by fecundity selection, while males invest in mate searching. We tested predictions of the two hypotheses underlying intersexual trophic niche partitioning in a natural population of spiders. Zodarion jozefienae spiders specialize on Messor barbarus ants that are polymorphic in body size and hence comprise potential trophic niches for the spider, making this system well-suited to study intersexual trophic niche partitioning.

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