Bromeliads provide shelter against fire to mutualistic spiders in a fire-prone landscape

Paula M. De Omena, MÔnica F. Kersch-Becker, Pablo A.P. Antiqueira, Tiago N. Bernabé, Sandra Benavides-Gordillo, Fátima C. Recalde, Camila Vieira, Gustavo H. Migliorini, Gustavo Q. Romero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


1. A key challenge in the study of mutualistic interactions is understanding sources of variation that strengthen or weaken these interactions. In spider–plant mutualisms, spiders benefit plants by improving plant nutrition and protecting plants from herbivory. Although the benefits of plants to spider growth and survival are often claimed, they are rarely demonstrated. 2. In this study, empirical evidence is provided that bromeliads (Bromelia balansae, Bromeliaceae) are essential for the resilience of the mutualistic bromeliad-living jumping spider populations (Psecas chapoda, Salticidae) after a fire event, sheltering spiders from the heat of the flames. 3. Spider populations were compared before and after a natural fire event and it was shown that spiders of different ages survived the fire. The survival of such individuals allowed the population of P. chapoda spiders to recover rapidly, returning to pre-fire levels in 5 months. 4. Bromeliads reduced the susceptibility of P. chapoda spiders to burning, and this mutualistic relationship contributed to the resilience of the spider population after a fire event. It is suggested that frequent fires in fire-prone landscapes may have strengthened this spider–plant relationship, contributing to the maintenance and evolution of this association.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-393
Number of pages5
JournalEcological Entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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