Exposure to sub-lethal levels of insecticide alters behavior of jumping spiders

Photo credit: USGS bee inventory and monitoring lab Photo credit: USGS bee inventory and monitoring lab

A new study published in the journal Functional Ecology demonstrates that low-level exposure to organophosphate insecticides can alter the individual behavior of jumping spiders, an important beneficial predator in agricultural systems. Young jumping spiders were collected from orchards and raised in the laboratory. Spiders’ behaviors including hunting ability were quantified before and after exposure to the organophosphate insecticide phosmet. Repeatability or the consistency of behavior in a particular scenario for individual spiders was also measured for spiders exposed to the insecticide and those that were not. While exposure to low levels of the insecticide did not change the average behavior between spiders that were exposed and the control group, there was a significant change in the behavior of individual spiders after exposure, with repeatability decreasing by 23% and different behavioral traits altered between male and female spiders.