Associate Professor Mariella Herberstein Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University
Patterns of senescence and its mechanisms are best understood for vertebrates and a limited number of other model species but actual observations of senescence in invertebrates in the field are rare.
We conducted controlled field observations where we released marked adult orb web spiders of known age into a field site and monitored them until they disappeared. On a weekly basis we monitored several performance parameters such as web size and quality as well as attack behaviour. We also collected any egg sacks the spiders produced during our observations. We were able to follow some individuals up to three months in the field. We will discuss if there is any evidence of ageing in the field.