Spider Populations: Extraordinarily High Densities on Islands Without Top Predators

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  18 Mar 1983:
Vol. 219, Issue 4590, pp. 1353-1355
DOI: 10.1126/science.219.4590.1353


Distributions and densities of orb spiders on small islands are extremely variable. Species occurrences are far more irregular for spiders than vertebrates on the same islands. Much variation in spider density is explainable by distance from the presumed source of colonists and presence or absence of vertebrate predators. As has been predicted for passive dispersers, densities decline exponentially with distance. For a given distance, spider densities are about ten times greater on islands without vertebrate predators than on those with such predators.