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The Spider's Parlour

Fascinating Facts

Classification
Arthropods
Arachnids

Frequently Asked Questions

Melbourne's Spiders

Activities
Writing Scientifically
Make your own:
Climbing spider
Spider web
Red-back spider

Resources


Spiders and Sex

Once spiders reach maturity, reproduction becomes their main concern. Male spiders literally go on the prowl when mating and leave their nests or burrows to search for females. They may mate with several females, but die soon after. Females live on to lay their eggs and many mate and reproduce again.

Male spiders are often dwarfed by their female mates. With a leg-span of up to 20cm, the female Golden Orb weaver is almost five times bigger than her male mate, who usually measures around 4cm.

Male spiders do not have penises - their testes are in their abdomen. Before mating, sperm is transferred from the abdomen to papal mating organs via a sperm web. The papal organs work like syringes, drawing the sperm up into them from the sperm web.

Mating organs are different in structure for each spider species - so each spider can only mate with their own species.

Many spiders have elaborate courting rituals. For example, male Orb Weavers pluck silk lines on their females’ webs as part of the act of seduction. Jumping spiders perform dance displays to impress females.

Male flower spiders often tie up their female mates during mating using silk lines - this is a cunning attempt to stop females from eating them.

After birth, spiderlings (baby spiders) may stay together for several days or weeks, but eventually separate to live solitary lives. Only a few ever reach adulthood.

In order to grow spiders must shed their skin (exoskeleton). Spiders moult several times in their lives, becoming fractionally bigger every time.


Spiders & Sex

Hunting

Feeding

Spider Silk

Why so hairy?


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