HomeAsiaGotta bounce: Some spiders catapult away after sex to avoid death

Gotta bounce: Some spiders catapult away after sex to avoid death

WASHINGTON: Sometimes there are fairly legitimate causes for leaving proper after sex.

A crew of Chinese scientists has found that male orb-weaving spiders fling themselves away from their companions – pulling 20 Gs of acceleration so as to avoid being killed and eaten by females.

The mechanism, described for the primary time within the journal Current Biology on Monday (Apr 25), includes the spiders’ first pair of legs to instantly undertake a split-second catapult motion.

Lead writer Shichang Zhang of Hubei University in Wuhan instructed AFP he was “excited” to make the invention, which required high-speed, high-resolution cameras to detect.

Zhang and colleagues have been finding out sexual choice on this spider, “Philoponella prominens,” which stay in communal teams of up to 300 people.

Of 155 profitable matings, they discovered 152 ended with the male catapulting and thus surviving the encounter.

Males can mate up to six instances with the identical feminine – bouncing off, climbing again up utilizing a silk security line, mating, and bouncing off once more.

The three males that did not catapult have been promptly captured, killed and consumed by their companions.

Another 30 males that have been prevented from catapulting by inserting a positive brush behind their dorsum all met the identical destiny – main the researchers to conclude catapulting is crucial to avoiding sexual cannibalism.

“Currently, I do not know whether there is any other species can also perform the catapulting,” mentioned Zhang, including he deliberate to examine additional.

Sexual predation by females is seen throughout many spider species, with numerous methods for avoiding it: Male nursey internet spiders, for instance, tie their companions up earlier than mating.


The escaping orb-weaving spiders clocked some spectacular statistics: their common peak pace was 65 centimetres per second, with an acceleration of 200 meters per second squared. That’s equal to 20 Gs, or 20 instances the acceleration felt throughout freefall.

While hovering by way of the air, the males spin round at some 175 revolutions per second.

The males catapult by folding the tibia-metatarsus joint of their first leg pair towards females. When launched, it exerts hydraulic stress and causes the legs to develop.

Zhang mentioned he believes the females have been judging males’ sexual suitability by their skill to escape.

“Through the catapulting, a male can escape female sexual cannibalism, and a female can choose males with high quality, because the kinetic performance may directly correlate with male’s physical condition,” he mentioned.

Even although they’ve already mated, females might go on to solely settle for the sperm of males that handed the take a look at, defined Zhang.

Spiders differ from mammals in that females have a construction often called spermatheca the place deposited sperm is saved. They can determine whether or not to use it to fertilise eggs, or reject it by squeezing it out or altering the pH worth to kill the sperm.

Future work will verify whether or not there’s a correlation between male catapulting and reproductive success, mentioned Zhang.



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