Is male cohabitation costly for females of the spider Stegodyphus lineatus (Eresidae)?

Tamar Erez, Jutta M. Schneider, Yael Lubin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    29 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    Reproductive interests of females and males can vary over a number of issues, including the number of matings and the occurrence and duration of mate guarding and cohabitation. The mating system of the spider Stegodyphus lineatus (Eresidae) is characterized by an exceptional sexual conflict where males induce females to remate by committing infanticide. Females experience high costs because of this male strategy, while males benefit. During the mating season, males tend to stay with females for several days. We examined whether this male strategy of cohabitation is also disadvantageous for females of S. lineatus. A field experiment revealed that male presence in a female's nest negatively affected her body condition, whereas cohabiting males gained weight because they fed on prey caught in webs of females. As a response, females did not renew their webs when males were present. Thus, females with a cohabiting male experienced the combined cost of prey loss and loss of time available for foraging. These costs are expected to increase with every additional cohabiting male. Mated females behaved more aggressively toward males than did virgin females. This behavior may be interpreted as an adaptive response to reduce mating costs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)693-704
    Number of pages12
    JournalEthology
    Volume111
    Issue number7
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 1 Jul 2005

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
    • Animal Science and Zoology

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