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Introduction The sexual biology of the theridiid genera Echinotheridion

Summary: Introduction
The sexual biology of the theridiid genera Echinotheridion
Levi, 1963 and Tidarren Chamberlin & Ivie, 1934 is unique
among spiders. In both genera, sexual size dimorphism is
marked, with the male only approximately one hundredth of
the female body mass (Hormiga et al. 2000; Ramos et al.
2004). Prior to the ultimate molt, the male of all studied
species affixes one palp (the right or left palp seemingly at
random) in the silk lines of his webs and then circles around
until the palp twists off (Branch 1942; Knoflach and van
Harten 2000, 2001; Knoflach 2002; Knoflach and Benjamin
2003). The male then feeds on the detached palp. During the
copulation sequence, the male first charges the remaining
palp, and then seeks and courts a female. The male dies,
seemingly from fatigue, at the instance or soon after copula-
tion is achieved (Knoflach 2002), but remains attached to the
female via the palp. After a few minutes, or in some species
instantly, the female entangles the male in the threads of her
web, and turns around in circles until the palp twists off
(emasculation). The female then feeds on the body of the


Source: Agnarsson, Ingi - Department of Biology, Universidad de Puerto Rico


Collections: Biology and Medicine