Avoid cannibalism, before mating the male spiders bite the females


KOMPAS.com – Mating rituals in the animal kingdom can be unique, strange and unimaginable. For example, the marriage took place in this spider species Thanatus fabricii.

Male spiders of this species are known to first bite and bind the female with their web.

This behavior is done to prevent male spiders from being eaten by the female, aka cannibalism.

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As quoted by Newsweek, on Monday (11/16/2020) this was revealed when a team of scientists from the Czech Republic observed the spider Thanatus fabricii in the laboratory.

Researchers say that if the spiders behave in an unusual way. Male spiders usually seduce the female to mate. But in Thanatus Fabricii, the male will forcibly bite and bind the female.

“Spiders sometimes spend hours attracting females. But the male Thanatus fabricii bites the females,” said Lenka Sentensk√°, author of the study from Masaryk University in the Czech Republic.

Coercion of males during mating is a very rare behavior in spiders, given the physical advantages of females.

Many arachnid species exhibit sexual dimorphism, in which the size of the female body is usually larger than that of the male.

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But size doesn’t seem to be a barrier for males. Furthermore, the Czech researchers also found that the male Thanatus fabricii never mated before biting a female.

Studies that have been published in Animal behavior This notes that strategies need to be implemented in order for mating to occur in these species.

“Despite being much larger than the female, the male has a weapon like a net that can be used to ‘immobilize’ the female,” Sentensk√° said.

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In their observations, the researchers found that the male will bite the female leg first.

Then the female brings her feet closer to the body and becomes completely still.

The male will then quickly mount the female, tying her legs and body with a net before fertilizing her.

After mating is complete, the female often lies motionless for some time. After that he would free himself by tearing the net that covered her.

But this marriage strategy doesn’t always work smoothly. In 11% of cases during mating, the female attacked and ate the male before copulation.

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