Copulation and Cannibalism in Fishing Spiders Dolomedes triton (Aranae:Pasauridae)
Samuel Locoh-Donou, Towson University; Carol Berkower, Ph.D., Department of Biological Sciences, Towson University
Copulation reduces sexual receptivity in female fishing spider Dolomedes triton. Females rarely re-mate, and previously mated females are more likely to cannibalize courting males. We tested whether this reduced receptivity and increased aggression was induced through sperm storage of females. Three groups of females were randomly assigned, virgins (no past experience), previously mated females (fertilized) and previously mated females (un-fertilized). Overall, fertilized females showed a higher level of aggression to courting males while the virgins and unfertilized females showed less aggression. Virgin females were significantly more receptive than either fertilized or unfertilized females. Sperm storage by fertilized females also reduced male courtship behaviors.