Navigation Links
When food is scarce, hungry female spiders alter mating preferences
Date:4/1/2011

New research from the University of Cincinnati provides food for thought.

The research examined how short-term and long-term hunger affected mate selection and aggression in female wolf spiders (Schizocosa ocreata) commonly found in the eastern United States and Canada. These female spiders are potentially aggressive and cannibalistic when approached by a courting male.

The research is published in the April 2011 print issue of the journal, "Animal Behavior." It was carried out by George Uetz, UC professor of biology, and former UC doctoral student Brian Moskalik, now a postdoctoral teaching fellow at College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Mass.

According to Uetz, this research helps indicate what might result if environmental changes affect food resources for animal populations, shedding light on the possible effects of scarce resources on short- and long-term mating preferences and potential long-term population dynamics.

He added, "For instance, we had a drought this past summer, and we saw smaller spiders in the fall. This spring, we're getting a lot of rain, which will likely mean more insects and an abundant food supply for spiders. That should mean well-fed spiders this year and, according to our research, that will affect spider mating choices."

SATIATED (WELL-FED) FEMALE SPIDERS

Hunger does affect female spiders' receptivity to mating, with well-fed females showing the most overall receptivity to mate and the least aggression. These satiated females were, however, quite choosy, and were most receptive to large-bodied males with large leg tufts (an indication of success in foraging for food). As they aged, they showed lower levels of aggression, and that aggression was directed toward small-bodied males with small leg tufts.

SHORT-TERM STARVATION

Overall, female spiders that experienced short-term starvation showed relatively little receptivity to mating and higher levels of aggression. The aggression was strongest toward small-bodied males with shorter leg tufts. This aggression was seen in these females both shortly after maturation and as they aged.

However, as these females aged, they increased their receptivity to mate with large-bodied males.

LONG-TERM STARVATION

Early in adulthood, female spiders that experience long-term starvation were most receptive to mating with large-bodied males regardless of the size of leg tufts of hair. At the stage of early maturation, however, they were extremely aggressive toward small-bodied males.

As these females aged, they continued to show preference for large-bodied males, especially those with large leg tufts. While aggression toward small-bodied males continued, it decreased in intensity.

CONCLUSION

In general, large-bodied males with large leg tufts were the most preferred by both satiated and hungry females. They were also less likely to be cannibalized, thus in all probability increasing the population of "attractive," high-quality males.

"These results suggest that hungry females are making a trade-off, mating with preferred males and eating the less-desirable ones," said Uetz.

Said Moskalik, "Still, a general trend apparent in the results suggests that as unmated female spiders age, they become less aggressive. So, males that are typically unattractive to females when those female are early in the maturation period may be given mating opportunities as the female population ages."

To control for differences in male behavior, the UC researchers used video playback with digitized courting males in their experiments. The males' size and indicator traits (leg tufts) were altered to reflect either large size and good condition or to reflect poorly fed smaller males.


'/>"/>

Contact: M.B. Reilly
reillymb@ucmail.uc.edu
513-556-1824
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Study finds that simple 2-question survey can better identify hungry children
2. First course of veggies may appeal to hungry preschoolers
3. Sugar-hungry yeast to boost biofuel production
4. New research indicates plants can grow quickly or ward off hungry insects, but not both
5. Honest crabs, power to the hungry, nice mice and clever meerkats: News from the American Naturalist
6. Larger female hyenas produce more offspring
7. Sexual plant reproduction: Male and female talk in the same way as do cells in your brain
8. Maternal fructose intake impacts female and male fetuses differently
9. Gender gap: Selection bias snubs scholarly achievements of female scientists
10. Offspring of female rats given folic acid supplements develop more breast cancer
11. Female lizard turns the table: Why exaggerated coloration makes her a good mate
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
When food is scarce, hungry female spiders alter mating preferences
(Date:4/15/2016)... April 15, 2016  A new partnership announced ... accurate underwriting decisions in a fraction of the ... priced and high-value life insurance policies to consumers ... With Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine ... readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and activity ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... PROVIDENCE, R.I. , March 31, 2016  Genomics ... leadership of founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., ... addition, members of the original technical leadership team, including ... Vice President of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice ... have returned to the company. Dr. Bready ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... -- Unique technology combines v ...   Xura, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... communications services, today announced it is working alongside SpeechPro ... particularly those in the Financial Services Sector, the ability ... a mobile app, alongside, and in combination with, traditional ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2016)... 27, 2016 MedDay, a biotechnology company ... the appointment of Catherine Moukheibir as Chairman of its Board ... Jean Jacques Garaud , who contributed to the rapid ... immediately. Catherine started her career in strategy consulting ... London .  She held C-Suite level roles ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... ... Roca Rothgerber Christie LLP as an associate in the firm’s Intellectual Property practice ... electrical, mechanical and electromechanical patent applications. He has an electrical engineering and computer ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... , ... April 26, 2016 , ... The European ... been selected as one of three finalists for the European Inventor Award 2016 in ... innovation prize will be announced at a ceremony in Lisbon on June 9th. , ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Mr. Palmer created the RPO business for Ceridian and lead ... managed services contract in the U.S. intelligence community with The SI (a Lockheed Martin ... Younger, founder of Accolo. “We are growing and his experience guiding our expansion ...
Breaking Biology Technology: