Sneaky Spider Skips Long Sex Dance

The muse speaks:

Sneaky Spider Skips Long Sex Dance

By Jeanna Bryner, Senior Writer

Courting spiders

A female redback spider (the large one) has just killed her male suitor after one session of sex, as the male didn’t meet her courtship demands. Credit: Ken Jones.

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Courting spiders

A female redback spider (the large one) has just killed her male suitor after one session of sex, as the male didn’t meet her courtship demands. Credit: Ken Jones.

Redback spiders

A female redback spider (larger spider) killed one of her male suitors (dead male in background), and now another male spider is courting her by dancing about her spider web. Credit: Ken Jones.

In the arachnid version of trying to get some, male suitors of a female cannibalistic spider must perform a 100-minute-long dance on the gal’s web lest they be eaten before copulation is complete.

Or, they can just cheat.

The finding comes from a new study that focused on the poisonous Australian redback spider (Lactrodectus hasselti), a member of the black widow family. A rival male redback can slip by the hard-working suitor and mate with the female without having to put in much courtship time, the researchers found.

Here’s how the spiders get down to business:

Males, which are just 1 percent to 2 percent of a female’s body weight, dance about the web of a potential mate, plucking at the threads and sending out vibrations.

Once the male redback has performed an adequate dance, the female will allow him to mount her and insert one of his two palps, or copulatory organs, into one of a pair of sperm storage organs. The male then somersaults to place its abdomen directly above his mate’s fangs.

That’s perfect positioning for the female to begin devouring the male’s body. “After about 15 to 20 minutes of this somersault position, he’ll flip back over partially digested,” study researcher Jeffrey Stoltz, doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto Scarborough, told LiveScience.

To make for a successful mating, the male must strut his stuff again on the web for a brief stint to gain access to the female’s other sperm storage organ. Like some other spiders, the redback males break off part of their copulatory organs in the female to keep her from re-mating. But if one sperm sac were left unplugged, a rival could come in and father half of the female’s offspring.

The team wanted to figure out how long a male of this species had to court the female to have the best chances of full paternity (filling up both of her sperm storage organs).

From a series of lab experiments, they found if a male spider courted for 100 minutes or longer, the female would very likely let him have two sex sessions. Below that threshold and the female would likely kill and eat the male after the first copulation. (Regardless, the male is giving his life, as the female will polish him off, at best, after the second mating.)

In addition to finding this threshold, the researchers observed sneaky rivals of a courting male could saunter onto the web and mate with the female with little effort. If the female has gotten her 100 minutes or so of courting from the other male, this second male can just slip by and gain access to the female.

“These intruding males could approach the females and mate with extremely little investment into courtship, after being on the web at a minimum of 15 to 20 minutes,” Stoltz said.

The researchers tested various size redbacks, finding even the small guys could mate with this already primed female with little investment.

“One of the surprising outcomes from the study is that females are unable or unwilling to discriminate the sources of courtship,” Stoltz said. “This has provided the opportunity for intruding males to exploit the reproductive efforts of rivals and thereby circumvent female choice.”

The study is published in a recent issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Copyright © 2009 TechMediaNetwork.com All rights reserved.


Seattle Erotic Art Festival call for Literary Art

I know tomorrow will be an extremely busy day so I am posting twice today.  I just received an interesting email I wish to share.

Announcing the Call for Literary Art

Last year the Seattle Erotic Art Festival was delighted to premiere the Literary Art Showcase. Created to highlight writing as an important art form, the Showcase, the first of its kind at any erotic art festival, featured work from poets, playwrights and authors from across the country.

Featured writers, selected by a panel of professional writers, will have their work presented as part of an interactive installation created specifically for the Festival and may be selected for a future anthology of writing.

The call for writers is open until March 1, 2010.

There are three categories of literary art:

-1.      Poetry (all forms)

-1.      Short stories (5 pages or less, single-spaced)

-1.      Short one-act plays or scripts (25 pages including scene setup)

In order to apply, you must be at least 18 years old.

For more information about the literary call for art, including rules and regulations, visit www.SeattleErotic.org.

Please contact us if you have any questions.

WRAP Week: White Ribbons Against Pornography

The following information came from a sex positive electronic newsletter put out by Marty Klein. Go to www.SexualIntelligence.org if you are interested in subscribing.

10 Ways to Observe Pornography Awareness Week

By Dr. Marty Klein

Today starts WRAP Week: White Ribbons Against Pornography.

Sponsored by groups including Concerned Women for America (CWA) and Morality in Media (MIM), the goal of the week is “to educate the public about the extent of the pornography problem and what can constitutionally be done about it.” The groups involved suggest activities for observing the week, such as urging the Attorney General to enforce obscenity laws.

I totally agree with the idea behind WRAP. I support increasing everyone’s awareness of pornography use in this country—how many people watch it, who these people typically are, how it affects them and their relationships, what are rights are regarding pornography, etc. Of course, I have a different, more scientific take on the “problem,” so I propose a different set of activities to observe the Week.

To counter the obscene lies our media and legislators will be hearing this week, perhaps you could do one (or more!) of the following:

* If you use porn, talk about it with your partner.

* Thank the clerk in your local convenience store for carrying porn magazines or videos.

* Write a letter to the editor of your local paper explaining that most people who use porn have no problem with it.

* Invite your partner to share her/his concerns about porn with you.

* Instead of a White Ribbon, wear a Plaid Ribbon. When people ask, say it’s for Porn Awareness Week and your gratitude for the First Amendment.

* Start a conversation with someone: “Did you know that the Bill of Rights says

nothing about an exception for porn, obscenity, or indecency?

* Send a few bucks to the ACLU, National Coalition Against Censorship or Woodhull Freedom Foundation. They protect your right to read, watch, and jack off to whatever adult material you like.

* Write your mayor or governor reminding them that you vote, and you have no problem with porn.

* Memorize these facts: in the real world, porn is NOT connected with violence against women, child molestation, or divorce. In fact, according to the FBI, these have all declined since the country was flooded with internet porn in 2000.

* Use some.

Bonus: What to say to people who claim that pornography causes most of America’s problems:

* “Of course some rapists and wife-beaters use pornography. So do 50,000,000 other Americans, and it doesn’t make them rape or beat anyone.”

* “Of course some people watch way too much porn. Other people watch way too much football, reality TV, or the Weather Channel. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with any of them.”

* “Porn doesn’t make men withdraw from their wives and girlfriends. Men withdraw for a variety of reasons. No pictures or stories can compete with a satisfying sexual & emotional relationship with a live person.”

New Email address & the need to resubscribe

I have recently changed to a WordPress formate and lost some of your data, plus I changed email address. Please subscribe once again so you won’t miss the daily blogs. The new email address for blog is: contact@TheEroticSalon.com

Thanks for reading.

Susana Mayer, PhD

Salonnière & Muse