オスのクモが共食いするメスと交尾するために精子の多い性器を選択することを発見 Study discovers that male spiders select sexual organ with more sperm to mate with cannibalistic females
クモの性的競合に対抗する雄の交尾戦略 Male mating strategies to counter sexual conflict in spiders
Shichang Zhang,Long Yu,Min Tan,Noeleen Y. L. Tan,Xaven X. B. Wong,Matjaž Kuntner & Daiqin Li
Communications Biology Published:02 June 2022
When sexual conflict selects for reproductive strategies that only benefit one of the sexes, evolutionary arms races may ensue. Female sexual cannibalism is an extreme manifestation of sexual conflict. Here we test two male mating strategies aiming at countering sexual cannibalism in spiders. The “better charged palp” hypothesis predicts male selected use of the paired sexual organ (palp) containing more sperm for their first copulation. The “fast sperm transfer” hypothesis predicts accelerated insemination when cannibalism is high. Our comparative tests on five orbweb spider species with varying levels of female sexual cannibalism and sexual size dimorphism (SSD) reveal that males choose the palp with more sperm for the first copulation with cannibalistic females and that males transfer significantly more sperm if females are cannibalistic or when SSD is biased. By supporting the two hypotheses, these results provide credibility for male mating syndrome. They, however, open new questions, namely, how does a male differentiate sperm quantities between his palps? How does he perform palp choice after assessing his cannibalistic partner? By conducting follow-up experiments on Nephilengys malabarensis, we reveal that it is sperm volume detection, rather than left-right palp dominance, that plays prominently in male palp choice.