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Sexual Size Dimorphism Predicts the Frequency of Sexual Cannibalism Within and Among Species of Spiders
Shawn M. Wilder and Ann L. Rypstra
The American Naturalist
Vol. 172, No. 3 (September 2008), pp. 431-440
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/589518
Page Count: 10
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Abstract: Sexual cannibalism varies widely among spiders, but no general evolutionary hypothesis has emerged to explain its distribution across taxa. Sexual size dimorphism (SSD) also varies widely among spiders and could affect the vulnerability of males to cannibalistic attacks by females. We tested for a relationship between SSD and sexual cannibalism within and among species of spiders, using a broad taxonomic data set. For most species, cannibalism was more likely when males were much smaller than females. In addition, using phylogenetically controlled and uncontrolled analyses, there was a strong positive relationship between average SSD of a species and the frequency of sexual cannibalism. This is the first evidence that the degree of size difference between males and females is related to the phylogenetic distribution of sexual cannibalism among a broad range of spiders.
© 2008 by The University of Chicago.