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Biol Lett. 2012 Aug 23;8(4):512-5. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2011.1202. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Remote copulation: male adaptation to female cannibalism.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Sciences, National University of Singapore, 14 Science Drive 4, Singapore 117543, Republic of Singapore. dbslidq@nus.edu.sg

Abstract

Sexual cannibalism by females and associated male behaviours may be driven by sexual conflict. One such male behaviour is the eunuch phenomenon in spiders, caused by total genital emasculation, which is a seemingly maladaptive behaviour. Here, we provide the first empirical testing of an adaptive hypothesis to explain this behaviour, the remote copulation, in a highly sexually cannibalistic orb-web spider Nephilengys malabarensis. We demonstrate that sperm transfer continues from the severed male organ into female genitals after the male has been detached from copula. Remote copulation increases the total amount of sperm transferred, and thus probably enhances paternity. We conclude that the mechanism may have evolved in response to sexual cannibalism and female-controlled short copulation duration.

PMID:
22298805
PMCID:
PMC3391442
DOI:
10.1098/rsbl.2011.1202
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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