Little and Large Spider Courtship

A male garden spider carefully approaches a much larger female sitting in her web. Some female spiders can eat the male during or after copulation so if he gets lucky he should definitely watch his step. I think he will be ok though because he is not that much smaller than her so not such easy prey.

In some spider species the male is incredibly small compared to the female  – why is this? Some theories suggest it is because of something called bridging. This is a method of travelling through foliage whereby the male spider can bridge gaps between trees and bushes by casting out threads of silk to be caught by the wind and attached to distant vegetation to make a tether with which to cross. The smaller spider is more successful at bridging because it is lighter and can travel further and more easily. It is therefore able to reach the webs of more females and increases its chances of reproducing. The evidence of this theory can be seen in larger disparities in size between male and female spiders in species that live above ground such as the uk garden or cross spider and the ground dwelling wolf spider where smaller male spiders do not have a genetic advantage because bridging is not needed to reach the females.

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