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Date of Award
Restricted Thesis: Campus only access
Bachelor of Science
Dr. Peter D. Smallwood
Previous studies investigating body size and mate choice in spiders have provided inconclusive results. In this study I presented male long-jawed spiders (Tetragnatha elongata) with two females of body weights differing by at least 20%, predicting that a male would be more likely to mate with the larger female. I collected adult spiders from the field and in the laboratory I allowed a male access to two females in a test box. Out of 47 trials in which the male copulated with at least one female, the male copulated with the larger female in 36 (77%) of these trials. Multiple matings occurred in some trials and first matings lasted significantly longer than subsequent matings. Previous sexual experience of the male or females had no detectable effect on the male's choice of mate. The behavior of spiders diminishes the possibility that female choice significantly influenced the results on male choice. Male spiders perceive heaviness as indicative of high mate quality, but why this is so is unclear. Further investigation is required to study male mate choice in the long-jawed spider, possibly beginning with field studies to determine if a similar pattern of behavior is observed in natural conditions.
Fetterer, Christine, "Male mate choice in the long-jawed spider, Tetragnatha elongata : preference for the heavier female" (1999). Honors Theses. 359.