squirrel's picture

Spiders eating or mating?

Observed: 3rd May 2010 By: squirrelsquirrel’s reputation in Invertebratessquirrel’s reputation in Invertebratessquirrel’s reputation in Invertebratessquirrel’s reputation in Invertebrates

No identification made yet.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Kluut's picture

Looks more like lunch-time

To mate, spiders usually approach one another head-on and in species where the males aren't tiny compared to the females, the male holds the females front legs (and fangs) out of the way to enable his modified palps (pedipalps) to reach underneath her to deposit a sperm pacakge into her reproductive opening.
The modified palps are a simple way to sex spiders - they are like boxing-gloves in males.
In some species, the males are so tiny that they sneak underneath the female to achieve the same end.

anonymous spotter's picture

Mating and eating

In spiders, the two activities are often linked! The female sometimes eats the male after transfer of sperm. It's a survival mechanism, to provide extra nutrients for the young.
(So taking a young lady a box of chocolates is a lot safer than some alternatives...)

Kluut's picture

True to a point

Only in rather few species is mealtime a fete accompli. However, what is actually happening in the photo' is certainly not mating, even if taken 5 minutes previously, it would have been.

Dick_Jones's picture

You guys have vivid and

You guys have vivid and macabre imaginations - just looks like a couple of wolf spiders, Pardosa sp, enjoying a sunny afternoon. The male lies on top of the female, the pair facing in opposite directions. If you enlarge this photo, you can see the male's carapace leaning over to one side of the female's abdomen as he positions and inserts his left palp.
I've never seen Pardosa's harm each other, tho' Araneus diadematus females frequently eat their males.