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1 July 2015 Extreme Male Mating Behaviours: Anecdotes in a Nuptial Gift-Giving Spider
Paolo Ghislandi, Trine Bilde, Cristina Tuni
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Nuptial gifts may serve to increase male mating success, copulation duration, and fertilization success, as is known for the nuptial feeding spider Pisaura mirabilis Clerck, 1757. In this species, strong sexual selection for the gift-giving trait may lead to male strategies, such as gift enlargement or thanatosis behaviour (death feigning), which ultimately maximize male fitness. In laboratory trials, we observed male gift enlargement by inclusion of an autosomal (self-amputated) limb, female consumption of male soma during copulation, and high-injury risk thanatosis in which a male feigned death while still in copula and only attached to the female with his pedipalp, instead of hanging onto the gift with the chelicerae as is performed in a typical thanatosis. Although the observations are anecdotal, we propose functional hypotheses for these traits in the context of extreme male mating effort and cannibalism avoidance, which are characteristics of the mating system of this species. Sexual selection and sexual conflict are major evolutionary forces that shape a variety of morphological, behavioural, and physiological traits (Parker 1979). Males must compete intra-sexually over access to females or inter-sexually to attract females, and have evolved traits that serve to increase their reproductive success (Andersson 1994).

Paolo Ghislandi, Trine Bilde, and Cristina Tuni "Extreme Male Mating Behaviours: Anecdotes in a Nuptial Gift-Giving Spider," Arachnology 16(8), 273-275, (1 July 2015).
Published: 1 July 2015
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