The animal kingdom has no appreciation for male chivalry or coy sensibility.
Catherine Scott, an Ecology PhD student at U of T, recently became a Twitter sensation after tweeting about the mating rituals of her research subjects. Her vivid descriptions of the eleven escapades of male black widow spiders wooing potential mates entangled the Twitterverse on Valentine’s Day as a part of a recent series of seminars held by the Royal Canadian Institute of Science (RCIS).
Sexually available spiders are subjected to what humans would call coercion, date drugging, perhaps bondage in addition to occasional sexual cannibalism.
“In some spider species, not only does that male spider have to impress the female and compete with other male spiders, he also has to avoid being seen as a meal and not a mate by the female,” summarized Scott. These perverse and occasionally terrifying goals dictate the sexual behaviour of male black widow spiders.
We compiled a sex guide that every maturing young male spider should abide by, to score all the ladies (and not get eaten).
1. Sniff and you shall receive
The right girl can be found by the scent of her pheromones in the air. Not only can you tell the girl’s age from her choice of perfume (if it’s Victoria’s Secret she’s likely underage), but perfume sniffing is also an opportunity to spot the real well-fed females. You do not want to find your head between her pincers on your first date should she get peckish.
2. Keep it classy
Best to find a nice, demure one and avoid the floozies (something that pheromones can also communicate). After all, why let yourself be forced (tricked?) to raise what could possibly be another spider-man’s spiderlings?
3. Ladies love a man who can dance
A properly choreographed courtship dance goes a long way. A good dance lasts for several hours, and includes good abdomen vibrations that are indicative of the dancer’s impressive size, and should never mimic the feeble vibes of lowly prey like locusts and flies.
4. Keep your lady safe from prying pincers
Web reduction is good practice; this involves bundling approximately half of the silk on her web into a knot, then wrapping it with your own sturdy, manly silk. You do not want her pheromone drenched web to attract all the other boys in the neighbourhood, so your silk helps muffle her scent. If she truly loves you, she will love you insecurities and all.
5. Never let her go
Wrapping your silk around the head, stomach and legs of your mate is advisable. The pheromones on your silk will put out her frenzy into a much needed state of calm, and restraining her legs will also thwart her from running away from your advances.