Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Male spiders have better chance of fathering offspring in return for good gifts to potential female mates

Date:
October 24, 2013
Source:
Aarhus University
Summary:
If a male spider goes to the trouble of finding a good gift, wraps it up nicely in spider silk and offers it to a female he would like to mate, he has far better chances of fathering her offspring than if he skipped the present. This is shown in new research, where researchers studied what it means for female spiders to receive gifts.

This photo shows a female with a white gift, and a male about to transfer sperm to the sperm storage organs under the rear part of the female’s body. The male has silky threads going to the gift from the silk glands at the rear of its abdomen. This enables the male to remain attached to the gift.
Credit: Allan Lau

If a male spider goes to the trouble of finding a good gift, wraps it up nicely in spider silk and offers it to a female he would like to mate, he has far better chances of fathering her offspring than if he skipped the present. This is shown in new research from Aarhus University's Spiderlab, where researchers studied what it means for female spiders to receive gifts.

Related Articles


Culinary gifts

The male's nuptial gift consists of something deliciously edible, such as a fly, which he wraps up nicely in white silk prior to offering it to the female. He can then transfer sperm while she is eating the gift. If he remembers to bring a gift, he is allowed to provide her with more sperm than if he forgot, and the duration of the copulation is longer.

Sperm 'receptacle'

When a male has mated with a female spider, the sperm is stored in a special organ from which it can be released when the female has eggs to be fertilised. The researchers discovered that the female stores more sperm in this organ if the male has brought a gift, and he is therefore more likely to be the father of her offspring. It can thus be demonstrated that the female is capable of regulating how much sperm she stores, enabling her to favour males that provide her with culinary gifts.

Gifts reveal resourceful males

The female presumably prefers sperm from the gift bearer because it shows that he is resourceful and good at hunting and catching food. If these are good hereditary traits, the female can transfer the qualities to her offspring by favouring the male. The female spider thus selects sperm from the males she prefers, and has the benefit of passing on their good characteristics to her male offspring.

The study was made on the Pisaura mirabilis species (nursery web spider). Whether or not there is scientific justification of any advantages in providing human females with gifts was not mentioned in the study!


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Aarhus University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. J. Albo, T. Bilde, G. Uhl. Sperm storage mediated by cryptic female choice for nuptial gifts. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2013; 280 (1772): 20131735 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2013.1735

Cite This Page:

Aarhus University. "Male spiders have better chance of fathering offspring in return for good gifts to potential female mates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131024121929.htm>.
Aarhus University. (2013, October 24). Male spiders have better chance of fathering offspring in return for good gifts to potential female mates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131024121929.htm
Aarhus University. "Male spiders have better chance of fathering offspring in return for good gifts to potential female mates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131024121929.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins