Male Spiders Give "Back Rubs" to Seduce Their Mates
Tactic helps orb-weaver avoid being eaten after sex, study says.
For many spiders, females of the species are much bigger than the males—N. pilipes females are up to ten times larger—so mating is always a risky proposition. An unlucky suitor might get interrupted in his carnal embrace when a female kicks him off and eats him.
(Related: "Largest Web-Spinning Spider Found.")
Male spiders have evolved multiple techniques to avoid this fate, at least before finishing the deed.
Male black widows, for instance, pick up scents from females that help the males determine how hungry their love interests are before attempting to mate. Redback spiders in Australia, meanwhile, actually allow themselves to be snacked on to prolong their time with a female.
The male's pedipalps fit perfectly into the female's two genital openings,