MUSEO ARGENTINO DE CIENCIAS NATURALES "BERNARDINO RIVADAVIA"
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Female genital morphology and mating behavior of Orchestina (Arachnida: Araneae: Oonopidae)
MATTHIAS BURGER, MATÍAS IZQUIERDO, PATRICIA CARRERA
Año: 2010 vol. 113 p. 100 - 100
The unusual reproductive biology of many spider species makes them compelling targets for evolutionary investigations.Mating behaviour studies combined with genital morphological investigations help to understand complex spider reproductive systems and explain their function in the context of sexual selection. Oonopidae are a diverse spider family comprising a variety of species with complex internal female genitalia. Data on oonopid phylogeny are preliminary and especially studies on their mating behaviour are very rare. The present investigation reports on the copulatory behaviour of an Orchestina species for the first time. The female genitalia are described by means of serial semi-thin sections and scanning electron microscopy. Females of Orchestina sp. mate with multiple males. On average, copulations last between 15.4 and 23.54 min. During copulation, the spiders are in a position taken by most theraphosids and certain members of the subfamily Oonopinae: the male pushes the female back and is situated under her facing the females sternum. Males of Orchestina sp. possibly display post-copulatory mate-guarding behavior. The female genitalia are complex. The genital opening leads into the uterus externus from which a single receptaculum emerges. The dorsal wall of the receptaculum forms a sclerite serving as muscle attachment. A sclerotized plate with attached muscles lies in the posterior wall of the uterus externus. The plate might be used to lock the uterus during copulation. The present study gives no direct evidence for cryptic female choice in Orchestina sp. but suggests that sexual selection occurs in the form of sperm competition through sperm mixing.