Why Do Female Spiders Eat Their Mates?

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Spiders. Something about all those beady little eyes and eight legs is unsettling. They can’t get any more disturbing, right? Wrong. Did you know some female spiders eat their mates? It’s true and probably has you scrambling to find spider control for your home. But why do they do it? Read on to learn five facts about spiders’ cannibalistic behaviour.

How Did They Get Their Names?

Ever heard of a “black widow?” Society once used the term to describe women who married wealthy then murdered their husbands. After researchers discovered female spiders eating their mates, the black widow spider was born. Not all species have a penchant for devouring their baby daddies. Nonetheless, you probably don’t want any spider brood growing up inside your home. We understand that the key to eradicating arachnids is our Four Seasons pest control. Spider behaviour changes with the seasons, and Truly Nolen Canada adjusts accordingly.

Why Do Some Spiders Embrace Death?

Some male spiders embrace the idea of death by sex. Some even offer themselves up as dessert. Scientists noticed redback widows placing themselves on females’ pincers after completing their task. It’s not entirely clear why they would willingly sacrifice themselves. One theory suggests the longer they hang around, the more sperm they produce. When attempting an early escape, they can’t release as much of their seed. More sperm means a greater chance of success for these proud papas.

Can Males Survive Mating?

Not all spiders are willing to hurl themselves into the jaws of their lover. Scientists have observed these same redback spiders using inventive new ways to procreate. Before reaching maturity, a female’s internal organs are ready to reproduce. However, her external organ remains closed. Males have found a loophole in this stage of development. They’ll poke holes in the female’s outer body with their fangs to locate the internal reproductive organs. This direct path allows them to fill both storage organs with ample time to escape. So why wouldn’t they spare themselves and always use this method? It’s likely because they are difficult to find in the wild. Females don’t remain in this stage of development for long. With the survival of their species at stake, males are low on options.

How Many Mates Can Spiders Have?

Some female species store sperm in two internal organs for later use. They get to decide when to use the male’s sacrificial gift. To add insult to injury, females may choose to replace it with the sperm of another male. Ouch. However, mates are sometimes tricky to find. Many spiders spend their entire lifespan searching for a suitable mate. When the dating pool is so tiny, the first option starts to sound more appealing. Therefore most females will stick with their first choice.

Why Do Females Eat Their Mates?

Many speculate that it benefits the species somehow to control the male spider population. Some think the male body may provide nutritional benefits to the mother. Proper nutrients may increase the chances of successful fertilization. The answer, however, may not be quite as noble or complex. The fact is that all of that baby spider making is hard work. Small male partners make for an easy post-coital snack. Sometimes males are significantly smaller than females, and they’re easy to snag. Larger males have a better shot of survival. But sometimes, there’s just no stopping a hungry mama spider.

Regardless of their bizarre procreation habits, spiders have their place in the world. However, that doesn’t need to be inside your home. Contact us today to control the spider population before it becomes a problem. Truly Nolen Canada offers reliable, year-round protection that keeps the safety of the environment and your family members in mind. Let us rid you of your arachnophobic nightmare before it begins!