Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mate or a meal? Familiarity decides if female wolf spider loves ’em or eats ’em, Cornell researcher finds

28.10.2003


Sometimes familiarity does not breed contempt: A Cornell University behavioral scientist has found that female wolf spiders prefer mates that are comfortably familiar.


A female wolf spider kills and cannibalizes a male
Photo by Eileen Hebets
Copyright © Cornell University



However, the researcher has discovered, a male wolf spider unlucky enough to attempt to mate with an unfamiliar female probably is doomed to be killed and eaten by the female.

"Finding this behavior is really surprising. Social experience influences mate choice," says Eileen Hebets, a Cornell postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, whose findings will be published in the online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS early edition, Oct. 27-31, 2003).


"This shows that invertebrates have social recognition, and it can be maintained and remembered even through the molting process. These influences affect adult behavior and possibly the evolution of traits."

Many male wolf spiders have different looks, or phenotypes. They might have ornamental tufts of hair on their forelegs, or their exoskeletons might be of different colors. "Males of most other spider species look alike. I studied this species because there is variability among the males," says Hebets.

Previously, researchers had explored spider behavior with young males and females collected in the field, kept in isolation and then brought together in a laboratory. In the wild, male wolf spiders mature earlier than females and often intermingle. Thus, the pre-adult females often are exposed to sexually mature males. Hebets notes that pre-adult female spiders cannot mate until their sexual organs have matured, which does not happen until their final molt. In her research, 81 immature females were exposed to mature males of specific phenotypes. About 73 percent of the immature females were exposed to more than one male phenotype and no female was exposed to more than nine different males.

Once the females entered adulthood, the highest proportion of mating occurred with familiar males. "These results clearly demonstrate that a female wolf spider’s experience during her penultimate life stage can affect her mate choice as an adult," she says. "The socially influenced origin of female mating preference could impose incredibly strong selection pressures on male maturation times, male mating strategies and, ultimately, secondary sexual ornamentation, since exposed females are choosing mates versus meals."

Hebets said that cannibalization rates among unfamiliar males are higher than she found in previous laboratory studies. This finding is perhaps a more realistic representation of spider wolf cannibalization rates in the wild.

The research, "Subadult experience influences adult mate choice in an arthropod: Exposed female wolf spiders prefer males of familiar pheontypes," was funded through a training-fellowship grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Blaine P. Friedlander Jr | Cornell News
Further information:
http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Oct03/SpiderSex.bpf.html

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>