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.
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.
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.
organs are different in structure for each spider species -
so each spider can only mate with their own species.
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.
flower spiders often tie up their
female mates during mating using silk lines - this is a cunning
attempt to stop females from eating them.
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.
order to grow spiders must shed their skin (exoskeleton). Spiders
moult several times in their lives, becoming fractionally bigger