Ecological Research

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 93–102 | Cite as

Male-male competition and mating success in the orb-web spider,Nephila clavata, with reference to temporal factors

  • Tadashi Miyashita


Seasonal occurrence patterns of adults of both sexes, intensity of male-male interactions, and mating success in the spider,Nephila clavata, were examined in the field. Adult males began to attend female webs about 2 weeks before female maturation. Large adult males were abundant in the early breeding season, but small males increased later in the season. From the distribution of males among female webs and size relationship of males within a web, male-male interactions seemed to be more intense when most females were still subadult. This was verified by a field experiment in which males were artificially introduced to female webs that were attended by other males. It was found that the probability of introduced males remaining on subadult female webs was lower than that on adult webs. As mating occurred mostly in the period shortly after the female final molt and first male sperm precedence was known in all spiders reported so far, intense male-male competition on subadult female webs seemed to be reasonable. Male longevity had an important influence on the mating success of males with just-molted females. Mating success was also affected by the relative body size of males present in a given period. Since larger males occupied the position closest to females within a web and stayed there longer, relative body size appeared to influence mating success through male-male competition. Female body size at maturation declined with time; hence, males that attained sexual maturity earlier had the advantage of mating with larger and more fecund females. Therefore, early maturation as well as larger size seem to be two important trairs influencing the reproductive success of males.

Key words

male-male competition mate guarding mating success reproductive success spider 


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Copyright information

© Ecological Society of Japan 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tadashi Miyashita
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Forest Zoology, Faculty of AgricultureUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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