In order to preserve their own existence. The science boffins have found that by breaking off their sex organ and leaving it inside their mates, male spiders release more sperm and thus heighten their chances of creating offspring. If that wasn’t romantic/creepy enough, the dismembered, erm, member then acts as a ‘plug’, to prevent their mate from getting any more sex elsewhere.

However, female spiders are not the victims in this twisted love story. Their mates castrate themselves because of an apparent survival instinct. In a ‘do or die’ move, making themselves eunuchs is the lesser of two evils; otherwise, they face being eaten by their lover. In the grand spider kingdom, ladies like to munch their baby-daddies after the job is done, which makes living without sex look bearable by comparison. In addition, the female spider,

Before this discovery, was believed to be the one who decided when sex ended. Evidently, their mates decided that females wielding this kind of power was too emasculating…so they evolved, giving themselves the ability to get rid of their penis, and leave it inside the lady of the web, in an act of what one can only assume is some kind of punishment.

There are some bonuses for the male spider eunuchs. Well, one bonus; they have been found to be more aggressive and agile than their fully functioning peers. Which is actually not that surprising really, given that I’d be angry and more nimble too, if I had to rid myself of a body part in the name of copulation. It’s not all bad though; in the study, three of the twentyfive examined male spiders got away with only partially severed sex organs. So there we have it; a brief update, should you need it, of the bedroom antics of spiders. It might come in useful one day.

[Laura Thomas]

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