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Male Spiders’ After-Sex Rituals Will Make You Squirm

posted: 11/06/15
by: Danny Clemens
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They say that all is fair in love and war, but this might be crossing the line.

In a new study published Current Biology, researchers reveal that male spiders have a nasty habit of intentionally hacking off their partner's genitalia after mating in an attempt to "secure paternity." After spiteful male spiders remove their partner's external coupling structures, the mutilated females are rendered unable to mate.

The study specifically investigated the mating behaviors of Larinia jeskovi, an orb-weaver spider, but researchers believe that the practice could be common in other arachnids.

orb-weaver spider web
Jeff Foott/DCL

"Male-inflicted genital damage is very prevalent since all female L. jeskovi were found to be mutilated at the end of the mating season," the study's authors write. "External genital mutilation is an overlooked but widely spread phenomenon since 80 additional spider species were found for which male genital manipulation can be suspected."

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The researchers, who hail from Germany's University of Greifswald and Poland's University of Bialystok, suspect that other animals with similar interlocking genital structures may also participate in similar post-coital rituals of destruction.

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