Cannibalism Link to Spider Hatching Success
Eating would-be mates could lead to a bigger brood for spiders, scientists have found.
The egg cases of American grass spiders that ate their suitors were compared with those that did not in a new study of pre-copulatory cannibalism.
More spiderlings of cannibalistic mothers hatched from thicker cases than non-cannibal offspring did, it showed.
It suggests an evolutionary advantage for female spiders that may eat males rather than mating with them.
The study is published in Animal Behaviour and thought to be the first to link cannibalism with reproductive success.
Entire article on the BBC:http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/19072196
I'm looking forward to reading this study. I almost see more questions being raised by this study than it answers.
Are females more successful becaus
e they eat the male, or are successful females just more prone to eat the male. They would be successful, regardless of whether the male escaped or not.
Even though the study deals with pre-copulatory cannibalism, I think there is the tendency by some of us to protect and preserve the male, ...even if we don't have any more females for him to breed.
I have often speculated whether it would be more prudent (biologically) to let the female have a male at the end of breeding? It just seems unfitting to treat him that way, after he has worked so hard.