Spatial variation in the strength of mutualism between a jumping spider and a terrestrial bromeliad: Evidence from the stable isotope N-15
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Psecas chapoda, a neotropical jumping spider strictly associated with the terrestrial bromeliad Bromelia balansae in cerrados and semi-deciduous forests in South America, effectively contributes to plant nutrition and growth. In this study, our goal was to investigate if spider density caused spatial variations in the strength of this spider-plant mutualism. We found a positive significant relationship between spider density and delta N-15 values for bromeliad leaves in different forest fragments. Open grassland Bromeliads were associated with spiders and had higher delta N-15 values compared to forest bromeliads. Although forest bromeliads had no association with spiders their total N concentrations were higher. These results suggest that bromeliad nutrition is likely more litter-based in forests and more spider-based in open grasslands. This study is one of the few to show nutrient provisioning and conditionality in a spider-plant system. (c) 2008 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.