Underage Spiders: Males show unexpected interest in young mates | Science News

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Underage Spiders: Males show unexpected interest in young mates

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11:47am, August 23, 2006

To the surprise of biologists, a male Australian redback spider will mate with a juvenile female before her reproductive tract has an external opening. The male bites through the immature female's outer covering and by doing so, protects his own life.

This discovery adds a new twist to a textbook example of extreme mating practices. Until now, biologists had focused on these Latrodectus hasselti males' apparently suicidal sexual behavior with adult females.

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