Spider sex play has its pluses

Playing at mating yields later benefits for young arachnids

By Susan Milius, 18:42 PM January 5, 2011

SALT LAKE CITY — When pairs of young comb-footed spiders engage in an arachnid version of heavy petting, the males gain experience that appears to pay off later.

A male spider that repeatedly courts and mock-mates with a not-quite-mature female ends up reaping benefits later, said Jonathan Pruitt of the University of California, Davis. Speaking January 4 at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, he proposed that such seemingly pointless spider encounters,...

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