Males sacrifice their legs to pacify aggressive females

Published: 2 October 2019| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/th7xdcjm6x.1
J. Schneider,
Rainer Neumann


The data show results on feeding and mating experiments with the golden-orb-web spider Trichonephila (formerly Nephila) fenestrata, in which males sacrifice a leg in response to female attacks during copulation. Three experiments were performed to test the adaptive value of this behaviour. The data reveal that providing females with a leg to feed on will reduce the likelyhood to be attacked and cannibilised for the male. Hence the leg sacrifice functions as a pacifier. Methods are described in the associated publication.



Universitat Hamburg


Animal Behavior, Mating System, Sexual Cannibalism, Spider, Sexual Selection, Sexual Conflict in Animals