Poisonous Redback Spider Demands Courting

TORONTO, Oct. 23 (UPI) — Poisonous redback male spiders who perform a courtship of less than 100 minutes risk being killed by the female, Canadian researchers said.

Lactrodectus hasselti, a spider native to Australia, is a member of the black widow family, in which females are larger than males.

Dominant males risked death if they courted the female for less than 100 minutes though weaker males who performed no courtship ritual were able to slip by and mate with the female on the full courtship efforts of the first male, researchers at the University of Toronto found.

“One of the surprising outcomes from the study is that females are unable or unwilling to discriminate the sources of courtship,” said Jeffrey Stoltz, a doctoral candidate at the university, said in a release Friday. “This has provided the opportunity for intruding males to exploit the reproductive efforts of rivals and thereby circumvent female choice.”

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Categorized | Animals
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