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Male spiders have found a way to avoid getting eaten by their mates?


Yes, the jokes follow but for now:

Certain orb-weaving spiders have developed a catapult-like mechanism to spring to safety and avoid sexual cannibalism, an international research team reports April 25 in Current Biology.

Hubei University behavioral ecologist Shichang Zhang, the study’s first author, says that the researchers first observed the post-mating catapulting behavior during field studies in 2019. This species of orb-weaving spider—Philoponella prominens—lives in colonies of up to 300 individuals, although each spider maintains its own web within the colony.

After witnessing the odd behavior in the wild, Zhang and colleagues brought the spiders into the lab for a closer look. Using high-resolution cameras, researchers recorded males—which are less than a centimeter long—catapulting away from the female at speeds up to 88 centimeters per second (a little over 3 kilometers per hour). The spiders achieved these impressive speeds by folding their first pair of legs against the female during mating and rapidly straightening them, vaulting into the air as soon as mating was complete.

Hannah Thomasy, “Spiders Catapult Themselves to Avoid Becoming Their Mate’s Meal” at The Scientist (April 25, 2022)

You know, there are guys in counselling today who …

The paper requires a fee or subscription.


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