Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Dry-heat tolerance of egg sacs of invasive Latrodectus spiders (Araneae: Theridiidae) in Japan: implications for efficient control/extermination.

Abstract

Strategic responses to invasive Latrodectus widow spiders are a global challenge due to the risks they pose to health and ecosystems. Chemical strategies involving the use of pyrethroids are effective against adult spiders, but as their populations rebound, chemical control becomes costly and unsustainable for eradication. A major obstacle is the inefficacy of insecticides against eggs, which are covered by a protective silk egg sac. Eradication of invasive spiders must focus on destroying progeny. Here, the responses of eggs in egg sacs of two invasive Latrodectus spiders in Japan (Latrodectus hasseltii (Thorell) and Latrodectus geometricus (C.L. Koch)) to short-term dry-heat exposure were examined. To test whether the dry-heat tolerance of the egg sacs of both spider species differed, lethal temperature (LT) was determined based on the hatching rate of eggs from egg sacs subjected to a range of temperatures. Hatching in both species failed completely when the egg sacs were exposed to temperatures of 55°C and above for 10 min, but the LT to reduce hatching by 90% (LT90) differed significantly between L. hasseltii (50.9°C) and L. geometricus (52.8°C). Our study highlights the efficacy of dry heat in suppressing hatching and thus shows the possibility for effective extermination of these noxious invasive pests. Further exploration and investigation of the effects of humidity and heat exposure time on egg sacs under field conditions are needed to guide Latrodectus spider control strategies.