Oct. 19 (UPI) — For many female Australian jumping spiders, the first time is the last time.
When scientists at Macquarie University tracked the mating habits of Australian jumping spiders, they found many females display an increase in sexual inhibitions after mating for the first time. Some never take another mate.
The study — published this week in the journal PLOS ONE — is one of the first track the longterm effects of mating on sexual behavior.
Scientists captured 89 immature female Servaea incana jumping spiders and brought them to the lab. Each virgin spider was paired with a new mate everyday for the first ten days of her adult life, and a new mate every ten days after.
After mating for the first time, most of the females spurned the advances of subsequent suitors. Many were aggressive towards their would-be mates. Many mated just once during they lifetime and few mated more than twice.
The test results suggest female jumping spiders can store sperm and use it for the rest of their lives.
Researchers suggest additional studies are necessary to explain the evolutionary significance of the females’ sexual behavior. Scientists also say more research is needed to reveal the mechanism for longterm sperm storage.
“Females are the gatekeepers to male reproduction — female jumping spiders commonly mate only once in their lifetime and so there is great competition amongst males over virgin females,” said Vivian Mendez, a researcher at Macquarie University.