Skip to comments.Spider fooled into sex by drop-dead male
Posted on 10/04/2005 7:58:10 PM PDT by saquin
A British spider has developed a novel way of wooing dangerous females and avoiding getting eaten in the process.
The male nursery web spider (Pisaura mirabilis) faces an aggressive - and bigger - female when he feels the need to mate.
Some male spiders pay the ultimate price for a few moments of pleasure when the female devours them after mating. Even worse, some males are eaten before they have the chance to mate.
To overcome this problem the nursery spider has devised a strategy of offering his thumbnail-sized mate a love-token, such as a dead insect.
But after presenting the gift the male immediately feigns death and collapses at her feet.
And as she becomes preoccupied with sinking her jaws into the insect treat, the male revives, creeps under her and begins copulating.
The extraordinary lengths the male spider goes to are revealed by Trine Bilde, of Aarhus University, the first author of a study by Danish scientists published today in the journal Biology Letters.
Spider evolution is driven in part by a battle between the sexes: males make so many sperm that they can seek many partners through which to pass on their genes, while females have to focus their limited resources.
One way for males to increase their chance of success is to offer a prospective mate a gift of food that will help her make eggs. On rare occasions, some spider species do just this.
But sometimes the male himself becomes the gift and is eaten for his pains.
"It is important at what time in the process of copulation you get eaten," said Ms Bilde.
Over millions of years of sexual conflict, males of the nursery web spider have evolved their novel mating strategy, not seen before in nature, report Ms Bilde and her colleagues.
Ms Bilde called the male's plan - which happened in half the cases observed by the scientists - "death feigning in the face of sexual cannibalism".
It is likely that the males first evolved to present females with gifts, then evolved feigning death as well to boost the odds of living and having offspring with a new partner.
The spiders are common in Britain, where they spin distinctive bell-shaped webs around their young (nursery webs) for shelter.
The female spider is distracted by the gift, the male feigns death later reviving to begin copulation
Words to live by, my friends.
Alway buy 'em dinner first.
I'm afraid this is one where I very much did not want any pictures along with the thread.
"And as she becomes preoccupied with sinking her jaws into the insect treat, the male revives, creeps under her and begins copulating."
YOWZA! I never thought I'd get so horny reading Free Republic!
I've had to do something very similar to this.
This is where the tradition of giving roses to your wife or girlfriend comes from.
Talk about a wham-bam-thank-you-maam.
Though I suppose it is better than wham-bam-damn-I-got-eaten-man!
Evidence that Bill Clinton is a spider in disguise? You decide.
It's obvious that they've never studied a submarine sailor on liberty. Otherwise, they would never wonder at what a male would be willing to do in the presence of a female.
Aw c'mon. Not even a picture of the giraffe's devouring each other?
"Even worse, some males are eaten before they have the chance to mate."
These also include the Clintonus Lewinskius species of spider....aka as the "beejay" spider.
Charlotte "the Mankiller's" Web doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it?
See, that's why my marriage failed, we had it backwards...my ex-wife always feigned death.
let write this down.....okay...token....copulations...
Are these female spiders "Valley Girls"?
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