Sexual cannibalism in the garden spider Araneus diadematus

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In natural populations, courting males of Araneus diadematus are often consumed by females before they have successfully copulated. Despite the possible nutritional benefits of sexual cannibalism for females, the male can derive no benefit by being consumed before copulation. In this study, females that consumed a single male significantly increased their body mass, regardless of the quality of their diet. The implication is that, for A. diadematus, sexual cannibalism increases female fecundity. In experimentally controlled courtship sequences, larger males were less likely to be cannibalized than smaller males, but female size had no effect on male mating success. The mating success of males was not influenced by the age of the male, indicating that cannibalism is not the result of male senility.
Translated title of the contributionSexual cannibalism in the garden spider Araneus diadematus
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Pages (from-to)1511-1517
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 1988

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