The variation in venom dose with prey size of the neotropical wandering spider Cupieinnius salei was examined experimentally. Monoclonal antibodies were raised against the venom toxins of C. salei. Mab 9H3, recognizing the main toxin CSTX-1, was used to quantify the venom by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Crickets (Achta domesticus) in four size classes were randomly offered to sixteen mature female spiders at 14d intervals. The prey items were removed from spiders five minutes after the initial bite and subsequently homogenized for ELISA measurements. The quantity of venom expended was significantly related to the size of prey, ranging from 0.15 microl for the smallest (100 110 mg) to 1.53 microl for the largest (600-660 mg) crickets. Adaptations to prey size were also reflected in capturing behavior. None of the smallest, but almost 50% of the largest crickets were wrapped in silk following the spiders bite. Some other behavioral features may reduce the energetic costs of venom production. In 22% of the smallest crickets no venom was detectable, with the majority showing mechanical damage as a result of fang contact. This indicates. that C. salei does not rely exclusively on its venom when feeding on small prey. Some other aspects such as the site of the bite and the speed of paralyzation and their consequences associated with the amount of venom expended are discussed.