Fat-Bottomed Spider Ladies

In the spider world, big girls really ARE beautiful. Male Nephila clavipes (golden orb-weaving spiders) on search for mates choose the biggest female they can find, preferring to duke it out with other males than search for an unclaimed lady-friend. Our project in Corcovado had to do with feeding different-sized prey to different-sized female Nephila, as well as counting the numbers of “kleptoparasites” (little spiders that steal prey from the big spiders’ webs) and males each female was hosting in her web. 

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They’re beautiful to watch as they build webs and snare their prey… but they’re fraidy-cats when it comes to anything bigger than this cicada. Still, that’s an impressive predator-prey size ratio. This big girl sure can handle herself. Watch out, spider-boys…

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6 comments on “Fat-Bottomed Spider Ladies

  1. piecedgoods says:

    So… you’re catching bugs and throwing them into the spiders’ webs to see what happens? Best tourists ever from the spiders’ point of view!

  2. Camille says:

    “…counting the numbers of…males each female was hosting in her web…” — should one conclude from this post that _Nephila_ is a polyandric species? Diversity rules!

    • Nephila ladies rule the spider world- the males cower on the edges of the webs in fear, and steal prey from the nice big traps of the females when they can. Sometimes if she doesn’t want to mate with one, and he is persistent, she eats him.
      Ahh, Nephila…

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