Male Spider Gives Female Spider a Nuptial Gift, But She Eats Him Anyway

Posted on October 24, 2013

In the video below, a male spider desiring to mate brings a female a delicious fly wrapped in white silk as a nuptial gift. The female spider accepts the fly present, but she later eats the male anyway. The females kill the males in about 2% of matings.

Maria J. Albo and Trine Bilde, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, and Gabriele Uhl, University of Greifswald have discovered that a male can transfer more sperm to a female if he provides her with a gift. The duration of the copulation is also longer if the male brings a gift. If the male brings a gift the female spider also stores more sperm in her special organ from which it can be released when she has eggs to be fertilized. The study was made on the Pisaura mirabilis species, the nursery web spider. The research was published here in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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