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21 February 2023 Discovery and Genetic Characterization of Single Cohort Adult Colonies With Male Aggregations, and Preliminary Evidence for Lekking in a Malagasy Kite Spider (Isoxya, Gasteracanthinae)
Ingi Agnarsson, James Starrett, Zachary Babbitz, Jason E. Bond, Matjaž Gregorič, Onjaherizo Christian Raberahona, Steven Williams, Matjaž Kuntner
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Abstract

Spiders are notoriously solitary and cannibalistic, with instances of colonial or social lifestyles in only about 50-60, or ∼0.1% of 50,000 described species. Population analyses indicate that most colonies consist of multiple cohorts formed by close relatives.Territorial social spiders facultatively form colonies by interlinking individual webs, but further cooperation is infrequent, and only among juveniles or (rarely) females. In spiders therefore, aggregations of males outside of the male-male competition context has been unknown. Here, we report on a discovery of a kite spider from Madagascar that exhibits unique colonies. We found colonies of the newly described araneid Isoxya manangona n. sp. formed by up to 41 interconnected, single-cohort adult female webs with up to 38 adult males aggregating on a central, single, nonsticky line. With males resting tightly together, we found no evidence for male-male aggression. Genetic analyses from RAD sequencing suggest that most colonies consist of unrelated individuals. Furthermore, genetic variability of males was somewhat less than that of females. Single cohort colonies made up purely of adults, and peaceful male aggregations, have not previously been observed in spiders. Although direct behavioral observations are preliminary, we speculate based on the available evidence that these colonies may represent a novel and first case of lekking in spiders.

© The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.
Ingi Agnarsson, James Starrett, Zachary Babbitz, Jason E. Bond, Matjaž Gregorič, Onjaherizo Christian Raberahona, Steven Williams, and Matjaž Kuntner "Discovery and Genetic Characterization of Single Cohort Adult Colonies With Male Aggregations, and Preliminary Evidence for Lekking in a Malagasy Kite Spider (Isoxya, Gasteracanthinae)," Insect Systematics and Diversity 7(1), 1-15, (21 February 2023). https://doi.org/10.1093/isd/ixac029
Received: 24 March 2022; Accepted: 12 October 2022; Published: 21 February 2023
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KEYWORDS
lek mating
male aggregation
mating strategy
sexual selection
social spider
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