01 August 2006

A Couple Days Ago in the Science News

Sometimes I just like to let the stories speak for themselves:
Humans aren't the only creatures that vocalize during sex.

While mating, female Physocylus globosus spiders emit high-frequency squeaks to let males know what they should be doing, a new study finds.

Called stridulations, the shrill cries sound like squeaky leather and are made in response to the rhythmic squeezing actions of the male's genitalia from inside the female during sex.
Stridulations, eh?
Female spiders are able to store sperm from different males inside their bodies and can choose which lucky male spider gets to fertilize her eggs. Squeezing stimulates the females and raises a male's chances that his sperm will be selected.

"Males that squeezed females more often during copulation sired more offspring than males that squeezed less often," said study team member William Eberhard of the Universidad de Costa Rica and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama.

However, if done too forcefully, the action can physically damage the female. If a male squeezes too hard or too long, the female squeaks to let him know to pick up the pace but to take it easy.
Yes, I am taking notes for future reference.
To produce the squeaking sounds, females scrape a part of their "pedipalp"—a leg-like appendage located near their mouths—against the file-like surface of their fangs, or "chelicera."

A male spider's genitalia are located at the end of its pedipalp. During sex, he inserts this tip into the female. Muscles near the base of the pedipalp flex during sex, creating the rhythmic squeezing motions that cause a female to cry out.

The researchers mated 68 virgin P. globosus females with two males. They found that the number of squeezes the males made were associated with the number of times the females cried out during sex. Stridulations became more frequent if males failed to loosen a squeeze in response to a previous plea.

Obedient males that consistently followed the female's directions ended up siring more offspring. It's thought that the squeezing motion propels the male's sperm deeper into the female's body, where it is more likely to fertilize her eggs.

"Females presumably favored the paternity of males that could stimulate them, thereby obtaining sons that were better stimulators and thus more able to induce females to fertilize their eggs with their sperm," Eberhard told LiveScience.
Seems reasonable, I guess.

But wait - there's more!
Multimedia: Audio and video of the spiders mating.
Because your life isn't complete until you've watched spider porn.


Anonymous kevlarchick said...

I wonder if it hurts her or she's loving it. Either way, it's hot spider sex.

6:56 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Peel said...

I just find it difficult to believe that anyone funds research into spider sex. Makes you wonder what funding requests get rejected.

9:04 PM  
Anonymous kevlarchick said...

Good point. Our tax dollars at work. Time for me to submit my *research* proposals and take a sabbatical from work.

8:04 AM  
Blogger atomic_amish said...

Wouldnt you need more than 2 male spiders to use as test subjects to find out if this is true or not? Maybe one of these dudes had fly-breath or something.

And besides, whos to say these slutty spider chicks werent faking it? You've seen the coffee shop scene from "When Harry Met Charlotte" right?

4:14 PM  
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