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Index > News Blog > News > Journal of Arachnology: Mating Frequency in Schizocosa ocreata (Hentz) Wolf Spiders: Evidence for a Mating System with Female Monandry and Male Polygyny

Journal of Arachnology: Mating Frequency in Schizocosa ocreata (Hentz) Wolf Spiders: Evidence for a Mating System with Female Monandry and Male Polygyny

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Abstract:

Courtship behavior has been studied extensively in the wolf spider Schizocosa ocreata (Hentz) (Araneae, Lycosidae). While much research has tested predictions of sexual selection theory regarding male traits and female mate choice, some critical assumptions about female behavior remain untested. To determine if females mate more than once, and to what degree copulation influences subsequent female mating, a multiple mating experiment was conducted. Virgin females were paired randomly with males in laboratory containers. If mating occurred, females were paired with a second male within 24 hr, after 3 days, or after 30 days (enough time for an egg sac to be produced). Of the 101 females tested, 83 (82%) mated with the first male they encountered. The probability of a female mating the first time was not influenced by female size, male size, or male age, but varied significantly with female age post-maturity. Of the 18 males that failed to mate, 3 were cannibalized. Of the 83 males that did mate, 12 were cannibalized after mating. There was no difference between re-mating treatments (1 d, 3 d and 30 d), and analysis of pooled data showed a highly significant difference in the proportion of virgin and mated females accepting males; most females mated only once (93%). In contrast, males appeared to court and attempt mating with every female encountered (virgin and mated), and a majority of males paired with more than one virgin female mated more than once (64.5%). Results suggest that female S. ocreata are essentially monandrous, while males are polygynous, and are discussed in the context of potential conflicts-of-interest between the sexes.

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