There are few works on the reproductive behavior of species of cribellate spiders. Even more scarce are studies of the reproductive behavior of representatives of the Desidae, such as the genus Metaltella Mello-Leitão, 1931. In this paper, we describe for the first time the reproductive behavior of Metaltella iheringi (Keyserling, 1891), a species that is characterized by complex genitalia in both sexes. We determined frequencies and durations of the behaviors in the different phases. Thirty virgin males were exposed to virgin females and the behaviors performed by each sex, as well as their frequencies, were recorded. Three phases were identified: pre-copulatory, copulatory, and post-copulatory. The most frequent behaviors were chelicera-palp rubbing, abdomen vibration and web-stretching by the male, and body-shaking and leg-tapping on the web by the female. When the male grabbed the female, she typically fell into a state of quiescence (the female remained motionless with legs in a semi-flexed position) and she remained so even after the male ended the copulation. Mating was characterized by low aggression by the female and a low incidence of cannibalism. In the post-copulatory phase, the male performed frequent behaviors such as abdomen vibration, sperm induction, and post-copulatory cohabitation. We discuss the possible implications of these behaviors in a pre- and post-copulatory sexual selection context. We also provide information that serves as a basis for future studies to understand the mechanisms involved in these behaviors.
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Vol. 50 • No. 1