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Data from: Rain, predators, and spider sociality: a manipulative experiment Hoffman, Catherine R.; Avilés, Leticia


Group-living organisms offer a unique perspective on how environmental gradients influence geographic distributions, as not only the properties of individuals, but also those of their groups interact with the environment to determine a species range. In turn, the ranges of group-living organisms should provide insights on the conditions that favor group versus solitary living. Here we show that rain intensity and predation by ants, factors postulated to exclude subsocial Anelosimus spiders from the lowland tropical rainforest, are greater in this habitat than at higher elevations. We further show that experimentally excluding these factors increases the survival of subsocial Anelosimus colonies when transplanted to the lowland rainforest, but not at their native higher elevation range. While providing a rare experimental test of the simultaneous importance of abiotic and biotic gradients on species range limits, these results provide direct evidence that adverse environmental factors may prevent solitary living and require group living in certain environments.; Usage notes
Summary File of Data for Hoffman & Aviles_BehavEcol_2017Five datasets included: (1) Survival of colonies of the subsocial spider Anelosimus elegans (Theridiidae) transplanted from the Lower Montane Cloud Forest (1000m) to the Lowland Tropical Rainforest (400m) in Eastern Ecuador. (2) Rain rate data collected manually in the field for 4 elevations (400-2100m) along the Eastern Ecuadorean Andes. (3) Quarterly rain rate data for locations along two elevational transects (spanning 211-2100m) in the Eastern Ecuadorean Andes, processed from monthly satellite data from NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Project (TRMM). (4, 5) Data taken in the field of the rate spider and tuna baits were found by ants and other predators at 4 elevations in the Eastern Ecuadorean Andes.

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