Journal article

Limits to male copulation frequency: Sexual cannibalism and sterility in St Andrew's cross spiders (Araneae, Araneidae)

ME Herberstein, AC Gaskett, JM Schneider, NGF Vella, MA Elgar

Ethology | WILEY | Published : 2005


Sexual cannibalism is common among orb-web spiders and may limit male copulation frequency. Each copulation by male St Andrew's Cross spiders (Argiope keyserlingi) involves the transfer of sperm from one pedipalp only. Almost half of the males survive their first copulation, but all of the surviving males are cannibalized when they copulate with the other pedipalp. We investigated why males cannot copulate more than twice. Experimentally fatigued males were not cannibalized more frequently than control males. Experimental removal of one pedipalp in virgin males did not increase cannibalism during their first copulation, but the surviving males were unable to copulate with a subsequent female..

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University of Melbourne Researchers