Hostile Female Spiders Eat Males Before Mating
National Geographic - 28/04/2014 Ir a fuente de la noticia
Nota de Prensa: For many spiders, mating is a risky proposal. Not only are they exposed to predators while in the act, but copulation can end when the female eats the male. The fathers, though, are usually willing to make the sacrifice to pass on their genes to the next generation.
But there’s more bad news for the males: New observations reveal that some females don’t even wait for mating to begin before they start snacking on their mates. Called pre-copulatory sexual cannibalism, this behavior occurs in about 10 to 15 percent of spider species, including the burrowing wolf spider.
Scientists already knew that an animal’s individual personality can influence who it chooses as a mate, but the new research shows that violent female spiders tend to attack males more often than easygoing females, according to Jordi Moya-Laraño, an ecologist with the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid and senior author on a new study published in March in the journal Ethology.
Moya-Laraño and Rubén Rabaneda-Bueno, of the Experimental Station of Arid Zones (EEZA) in Almería, Spain, wanted to know what factors made females more likely to engage in this behavior. They focused on the burrowing wolf spider, with which they had conducted other experiments.