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Male Control of Copulation Duration in a Wolf Spider (Araneae, Lycosidae)

Shawn M. Wilder and Ann L. Rypstra
Behaviour
Vol. 144, No. 4 (Apr., 2007), pp. 471-484
Published by: Brill
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4536457
Page Count: 14
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Male Control of Copulation Duration in a Wolf Spider (Araneae, Lycosidae)
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Abstract

While a great deal of research has examined mate choice, variation in behavior during copulation can also have important consequences for the fitness of males and females. We examined the relationships between male and female characteristics (age, size and condition) and copulation duration in the wolf spider Hogna helluo (Araneae, Lycosidae). In addition, we used these relationships to test if males control copulation duration. In this species, males mount the dorsal surface of females and females make no visible attempts to terminate mating. Male age was positively related to the duration of copulation. In addition, male condition was negatively related to the duration of copulation such that poor condition males mated for longer durations. If a group of outlier copulations are removed from the analysis, then male age is no longer a predictor of mating duration but male condition becomes an even stronger predictor of mating duration. Males that engaged in long copulations were more likely to be cannibalized following mating. Our data provide support for the hypothesis that males exert the primary influence on copulation duration in H. helluo. Older and poor condition males may engage in longer copulations to increase their paternity with the current female because they may have a lower chance of escaping postcopulatory sexual cannibalism or surviving to find another female.

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