It appears that the world of arachnids is much more complicated than we originally thought. The social interactions between the members of some species are quite extraordinary. For example, scientists discovered that the male orb-web spiders are quite choosy when it comes to picking their cannibalistic mate.
In the world of insects, usually, the females have the last word and meal. Arachnids are no different, lots of male spiders ending up their partner’s dinner after they engage in the reproductive act. However, upon careful analysis, researchers discovered that one spider species is very picky when it comes to choosing a cannibalistic mate.
Previous studies theorized that the female orb-web spider does all the work, from choosing the male that they want to reproduce with, to eating him after the act is over. The same behavior is demonstrated in the world of insects by the praying mantis.
The latest analysis shows that things are not quite that simple with orb-spiders. The males may be on the dinner menu, but they make sure that they choose the female that will ingest them.
According to the article posted in the on-line science journal, PLOS ONE, females are normally choosier when it comes to picking a reproduction partner because the gestation process is harder than the role that the male plays. However, when it comes to cannibalistic insects, the males tend to take control, at least in the choosing part.
Due to the fact that they are aware that they probably have a single chance at reproducing, males tend to take their time, picking the perfect mate.
In order to reach these conclusions, the team of scientists in charge of the project studied the reproductive behaviors of the colonial orb-web spiders. This particular species lives in massive colonies comprised of thousands of individuals.
The females are usually four times bigger than the males, so the latter have a difficult time trying to look fearsome while passing on the advances of some of the ladies.
What is even more interesting is the fact that the males seem to prefer virgin adult females to previously mated or subadult specimens. By choosing the virgins, they are making sure that the reproduction process will be successful.
Moreover, the researchers discovered that the males did not attempt to run away from their fate. They still haven’t found an explanation for that behavior.
Image source: Flickr