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Spider Sex: Drastic Steps Follow In Some Cases

Nov 09, 2015 12:42 PM EST
Orb-weaver spider
A recent study shows that certain types of male spiders take pretty drastic measures after sex.
(Photo : Wikipedia Commons)

Some male spiders take very drastic measures to prevent their mates from seeing other people. It's so serious, in fact, that as part of the post-mating habits of Larinia jeskovi , or orb-weaver spiders, the male hacks off its partner's genitalia--trying to "secure paternity," as a recent study noted. Without a part called the scapus, the females are then unable to mate, as Discovery reported.

This method is one of several in the dog-eat-dog world of prolonging one's own family line or merely surviving. In other cases, males trying to secure access of their sperm to females have tactics that include guarding the female after intercourse in order to keep her separate from other males; or by sealing the female reproductive tract with a plug that is part of the copulation method, noted a report recently published in the journal Current Biology.

Researchers from Germany's University of Greifswald and Poland's University of Bialystok published this particular study. They think that the practice might be more common than we know among other spiders, the report noted.

"Male-inflicted genital damage is very prevalent since all female L. jeskovi were found to be mutilated at the end of the mating season," the study's authors wrote in the report. "External genital mutilation is an overlooked but widely spread phenomenon since 80 additional spider species were found for which male genital manipulation can be suspected."

The researchers said in their report that they think that animals that have the same system of interlocking genital structures might also have similar post-sex destruction rituals.

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

-Follow Catherine on Twitter @TreesWhales

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