Saturday, 24 December 2011

Spider cannibalism

Male Spiders Let Mates Eat Them for Kids' Sake

The unkind act of butchering and eating your mate after sex, typified by the female black-widow spider and praying mantis, may make for healthier babies, new research suggests.

The researchers found that a male orb-web spider makes the ultimate evolutionary sacrifice: giving his life for the health of his offspring.

Sexual cannibalism is the act of one partner eating the other after sex. In the orb-web spider Argiope bruennichi, the female tries to grab and wrap up the male at the onset of mating so she can snack on him during sex. In the lab, only about 30 percent of the males survive their first mating, but by letting the female gnaw on them, the males prolong the sex act, making it more likely they will inseminate their partner.

Of these survivors, half go on to find a second mate, while the others try again for the same female. Due to the male's anatomy, two copulations is the limit. (When you are facing a life without sex, is it really worth it to go on?)

Read more here ...

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