Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Proc Biol Sci. 2009 Aug 7;276(1668):2697-701. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0104. Epub 2009 Apr 29.

The spider Harpactea sadistica: co-evolution of traumatic insemination and complex female genital morphology in spiders.

Author information

  • 1Department of Entomology, Crop Research Institute, , Drnovská 507, 161 06 Prague 6-Ruzyne, Czech Republic.


The males of invertebrates from a few phyla, including arthropods, have been reported to practise traumatic insemination (TI; i.e. injecting sperm by using the copulatory organ to penetrate the female's body wall). As all previously reported arthropod examples have been insects, there is considerable interest in whether TI might have evolved independently in other arthropods. The research reported here demonstrates the first case of TI in the arthropod subphylum Chelicerata, in particular how the genital morphology and mating behaviour of Harpactea sadistica (Rezác 2008), a spider from Israel, has become adapted specifically for reproduction based on TI. Males have needle-like intromittent organs and females have atrophied spermathecae. In other spiders, eggs are fertilized simultaneously with oviposition, but the eggs of H. sadistica are fertilized in the ovaries (internal fertilization) and develop as embryos before being laid. Sperm-storage organs of phylogenetically basal groups to H. sadistica provide males with last male sperm priority and allow removal of sperm by males that mate later, suggesting that TI might have evolved as an adaptive strategy to circumvent an unfavourable structure of the sperm-storage organs, allowing the first male to mate with paternity advantage. Understanding the functional significance of TI gives us insight into factors underlying the evolution of the genital and sperm-storage morphology in spiders.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk