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Data from: Producers and scroungers: feeding type composition changes with group size in a socially foraging spider

posted on 2022-06-10, 03:02 authored by Marlis Dumke, Mariella E. Herberstein, Jutta M. Schneider, Marie E. Herberstein
In groups of socially foraging animals, feeding behaviour may change with group size in response to varying cost-benefit trade-offs. Numerous studies have described group size effects on group-average feeding behaviour, particularly emphasizing an increase in scrounging incidence for larger groups, where individuals (scroungers) feed from the food sources others (producers) discovered. However, individual variation in feeding behaviour remains unconsidered in the vast majority of these studies even though theoretical models presume individuals to specialize in feeding tactic and anticipate higher scrounger-type frequencies in larger groups. We combined group-level and individual-level analyses of group size effects on social foraging in the subsocial spider Australomisidia ergandros. Lending novel experimental support to model predictions, we found that individuals specialize in feeding tactic and that higher scrounging and lower producing incidence in larger groups were mediated through shifts in the ratio of feeding types. Further, feeding type specialization was not explained by innate individual differences in hunting ability as all feeding types were equally efficient in prey capture when foraging alone. Context adaptivity of feeding behaviour might allow this subsocial species to succeed under varying socioecological conditions.

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DATA from communal and single feeding experimentsThis excel file contains the individual feeding parameters obtained from communal feeding trials (sheet 1) and single feeding trials (sheet 2). It further contains individual descriptive parameters such as group size, group ID, weight and weight rank measures that were used as predictors in the statistical analyses. The individual feeding parameters are explained in Table 1 as well as in the descriptions of the communal and single feeding experiment in the "Methods"-section of the manuscript.DATA for MS - Feeding type composition changes with group size.xlsx


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