A study recently published in Ethology found that despite the inherent risk of sexual cannibalism, virgin females were attracted to bigger males when losing their virginity before opting for the safer smaller male as a longer term mate choice.
It is quite common for male spiders to fall victim to female sexual partners once they have mated as the female is more often than not bigger than her mate. In the case of E. culicivora, the gender roles and the size ranges of both sexes are different from the norm and this is important in understanding the evolution of their mate choice behaviour. Large males are more cannibalistic towards smaller females than vice versa. Consequently, virgin females prefer larger males as mates, in spite of the increased risk of cannibalism, but once the females have mated they change tact and prefer smaller males. In contrast, males make the same choice regardless of whether they are virgins or not and prefer larger females as mates overall.
The research team based in New Zealand and Kenya used interesting techniques to ensure that their findings were based purely on size selection and not courtship behaviour. Dr Pollard explained ‘like all salticids, E. culicivora has exceptional eyesight that is unrivalled by other animals of a similar size. Because E. culicivora can see so well, we could test what size mates virgin and non virgin males and females preferred by showing them different sized, dead conspecifics arranged in life-like postures. These motionless mounts were coated with a plastic adhesive and allowed us to test for decisions based only on the size of the potential mate and not its behaviour. To check whether the decisions made with static models related to actual mating, we also repeated the experiment with the choice being live mates.’
Despite being the smaller and in this case weaker sex, the female E. culicivora has employed some interesting tactics in mate selection. Whilst this study suggests she may only mate once with a larger male, unlike male E. culicivora which discriminates less stringently, the research would suggest that her motives for doing so still remain largely unknown. Moreover this study provides ‘the first experimental evidence of pronounced mutual mate choice in a salticid and also the first experimental evidence of a salticid making size-choice discriminations in the context of mating.’
Davina Quarterman | alfa
Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences