Portia fimbriata from Queensland, Australia, is an araneophagic jumping spider (Salticidae) that includes in its predatory strategy a tactic (cryptic stalking) enabling it to prey effectively on a wide range of salticids from other genera. Optical cues used by P. fimbriata to identify the salticid species on which it most commonly preys, Jacksonoides queenslandicus, were investigated experimentally in the laboratory using odorless lures made from dead prey on which various combinations of features were altered. P. fimbriata adopted cryptic stalking only against intact salticid lures and modified lures on which the large anterior-median eyes were visible. Ordinary stalking was usually adopted when the lure did not have the anterior-median eyes visible. There was no evidence that cues from the legs of prey salticids influence the choice of stalking style of P. fimbriata, but cues from the legs do appear to influence strongly whether a prey is stalked at all. Cues from the cephalothorax and abdomen also influenced the stalking tendency, but to a lesser degree than cues from the legs. An algorithm to describe the perceptual processes of P. fimbriata when visually discriminating between salticid and non-salticid prey is discussed.
- © 2000 by Company of Biologists