, Volume 92, Issue 9, pp 423-426
Date: 02 Aug 2005

No discrimination against previous mates in a sexually cannibalistic spider

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Abstract

In several animal species, females discriminate against previous mates in subsequent mating decisions, increasing the potential for multiple paternity. In spiders, female choice may take the form of selective sexual cannibalism, which has been shown to bias paternity in favor of particular males. If cannibalistic attacks function to restrict a male's paternity, females may have little interest to remate with males having survived such an attack. We therefore studied the possibility of female discrimination against previous mates in sexually cannibalistic Argiope bruennichi, where females almost always attack their mate at the onset of copulation. We compared mating latency and copulation duration of males having experienced a previous copulation either with the same or with a different female, but found no evidence for discrimination against previous mates. However, males copulated significantly shorter when inserting into a used, compared to a previously unused, genital pore of the female.