BT Bjorkman-Chiswell, MM Kulinski, RL Muscat, KL Nguyen, BA Norton, MRE Symonds, GE Westhorpe, MA Elgar (2004) Web-building spiders attract prey by storing decaying matter. Naturwissenschaften 91: 245-248

What’s it about?

The title pretty much explains it all

What’s the story behind it?

During my first stint at Melbourne Uni, I supervised an undergraduate research project that  looked to see whether the debris that Nephila orb-weaver spiders put in their web attracts flies. It involved work at the most unusual (and frankly unsalubrious) field site I’ve ever been too – the median strip of the Hume Highway (the main road linking Sydney and Melbourne). Subsequently, our data (plus those from a second group of students supervised by Mark Elgar) were combined into this paper by Mark. Interesting factoid: the first author is now a prominent cycling activist in Melbourne.

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