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Ontogeny Of Venom Use And Venom Composition In The Western Widow Spider Latrodectus Hesperus, David Roger Nelsen
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects
I investigated the behavioral ecology of venom and venom use by the western widow spider (Latrodectus hesperus), emphasizing the role of ontogeny. In an introductory paper, I reviewed existing definitions of venom and poison, and refined these by adding a third category of toxic biological secretions: toxungen. These three can be distinguished by mode of toxin delivery and presence of a wound. In the first of four empirical studies, I investigated venom use by adult females in the context of threat assessment. A single brief poke at the lowest threat level elicited primarily avoidance responses ("move" and "retract"), repeated prodding ...