Urbanization impacts short- but not long-distance natal dispersal in a common orb web spider

Dries Bonte*, Clémence Rose, Thomas Bastiaensen, Jesper Jesper Bechsgaard, Trine Bilde, Maxime Dahirel, Katrien De Wolf, Hélène Thylys, Tine Uytterschaut, Bram Vanthournout

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Urban environments represent a theatre for life history evolution. Species able to survive in urban areas can adapt to the local and often divergent environmental conditions compared to rural or (semi-)natural environments. Dispersal determines establishment, gene flow, and thus the potential for local adaptation. Since habitats in urban environments are highly fragmented, and showing substantial turnover, contrasting adaptive effects on dispersal are expected. Fragmentation selects against dispersal while patch turnover is expected to promote the evolution of dispersal. We here show both processes to act in concert when different scales are considered. Dispersal behavior of juvenile, lab-reared garden spiders from threemid-sized European cities were tested under standardized conditions. While long-distance dispersal showed to be overall rare, short-distance dispersal strategies increased with urbanization at small scales but declined when urbanization was quantified at large scales. We discuss the putative drivers behind these differences in natal dispersal and highlight its importance for urban evolution and ecology.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere10278
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Araneus diadematus
  • dispersal
  • urban ecology and evolution


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