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Open AccessArticle

Prey and Venom Efficacy of Male and Female Wandering Spider, Phoneutria boliviensis (Araneae: Ctenidae)

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Grupo de Investigación Biología y Ecología de Artrópodos (BEA), Corporación Huiltur y Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad del Tolima, Altos de Santa Helena, Ibagué 730001, Colombia
2
CIBIO Research Centre in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources, InBIO, Universidade do Porto, Campus Agrário de Vairão, Rua Padre Armando Quintas 7, 4485-661 Vairão, Vila do Conde, Portugal
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Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Matemáticas, Universidad de Ibagué, Carrera 22 calle 67, Ibagué 730001, Colombia
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Grupo de Investigación en Zoología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad del Tolima, Altos de Santa Helena, Ibagué 730001, Colombia
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Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of Science, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2, 61137 Brno, Czech Republic
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Grupo Multidisciplinario en Ecología para la Agricultura, Centro Universitario Regional del Este, Treinta y Tres 33000, Uruguay
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Toxins 2019, 11(11), 622; https://doi.org/10.3390/toxins11110622
Received: 18 September 2019 / Revised: 20 October 2019 / Accepted: 22 October 2019 / Published: 27 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Ecology of Venom)
Spiders rely on venom to catch prey and few species are even capable of capturing vertebrates. The majority of spiders are generalist predators, possessing complex venom, in which different toxins seem to target different types of prey. In this study, we focused on the trophic ecology and venom toxicity of Phoneutria boliviensis F. O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1897, a Central American spider of medical importance. We tested the hypothesis that its venom is adapted to catch vertebrate prey by studying its trophic ecology and venom toxicity against selected vertebrate and invertebrate prey. We compared both trophic ecology (based on acceptance experiments) and toxicity (based on bioassays) among sexes of this species. We found that P. boliviensis accepted geckos, spiders, and cockroaches as prey, but rejected frogs. There was no difference in acceptance between males and females. The venom of P. boliviensis was far more efficient against vertebrate (geckos) than invertebrate (spiders) prey in both immobilization time and LD50. Surprisingly, venom of males was more efficient than that of females. Our results suggest that P. boliviensis has adapted its venom to catch vertebrates, which may explain its toxicity to humans. View Full-Text
Keywords: venom; toxins; LD50; trophic niche; sexual dimorphism venom; toxins; LD50; trophic niche; sexual dimorphism
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MDPI and ACS Style

Valenzuela-Rojas, J.C.; González-Gómez, J.C.; van der Meijden, A.; Cortés, J.N.; Guevara, G.; Franco, L.M.; Pekár, S.; García, L.F. Prey and Venom Efficacy of Male and Female Wandering Spider, Phoneutria boliviensis (Araneae: Ctenidae). Toxins 2019, 11, 622.

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