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Web wars: Males of the golden orb-web spider invest more in fights for mated and aggregated females

Citation

da Silva, Amanda Vieira; Oliveira, Reisla; Peixoto, Paulo Enrique Cardoso (2021), Web wars: Males of the golden orb-web spider invest more in fights for mated and aggregated females, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5dv41ns5g

Abstract

In addition to resource value, the cost of finding mates may affect how much males invest in fights for females. The cost of finding females may be imposed through natural factors extrinsic to males, such as female spatial distribution and predation pressure, which can be challenging to simulate in laboratory conditions. Therefore, studies under natural conditions may be suitable for understanding how the costs of finding mating partners affect male investment in fights. We used the spider Trichonephila clavipes to evaluate the hypotheses that males in field conditions invest more in contests for access to (1) unmated and (2) more fecund females, and (3) when access to females is harder. To test these hypotheses, we recorded the occurrence, duration and escalation of induced contests between males located in webs of females that differed in reproductive status (estimated by female life stage), fecundity (estimated by female abdominal area) and spatial distribution (i.e. isolated or aggregated with webs of other females). The occurrence and duration of contests were unrelated to female value or search costs. However, the probability for escalation was higher when males were fighting for adult (and probably mated) females. We also found that males tended to start a contest more often in aggregated webs. These results indicate that males of T. clavipes adjust investment in contests, but contrarily to what we expected. We suggest males invest more in contests for adult females because they are defending females that they previously fertilized to avoid sperm competition.

Funding

Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, Award: 130948/2018-7

Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, Award: 311212/2018-2

ANEEL

ANEEL / CEMIG Proecos, Award: GT- 599

Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, Award: 88882.316026/2019-0

ANEEL

ANEEL / CEMIG Proecos, Award: GT- 599