araneus diadematus spiders mating
These are araneus diadematus, very common spiders. They are about to mate. The male, smaller, is on the left.

2021/01/31 – Spiders mating

Up until September last year, I had never seen spiders mating. I know that a lot of people don’t like spiders, and I must admit, they are not the most friendly looking creature in the world. But that doesn’t prevent me from finding them fascinating. Just their ability to build a large and sturdy web, completely by instinct, is already quite amazing. Anyway, here is today’s gallery, which shows you most of the event of a couple of araneus diadematus, a very common spider, in the process of mating.

In the process of editing the pictures, I observed some details which I just could not understand. But, it’s not too surprising when you read a description of the process. The following is an excerpt from the Britannica article on this topic:

“In male spiders the second pair of appendages (pedipalps) are each modified to form a complex structure for both holding sperm and serving as the copulatory organs. When the time for mating approaches, the male constructs a special web called the sperm web. The silk for it comes from two sources, the spinnerets at the end of the abdomen and the spigots of the epigastric silk glands located between the book lungs. A drop of fluid containing sperm is deposited onto the sperm web through an opening (gonopore) located on the underside of the abdomen. The male draws the sperm into his pedipalps in a process known as sperm induction. This may take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours. Sperm induction may occur before a male seeks a mate or after the mate has been located. If more than one mating occurs, the male must refill the pedipalps between copulations.”

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