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Can multiple mating compensate for slower development and shorter adult life in a male dimorphic dwarf spider?

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Oedothorax gibbosus (Blackwall, 1841) is a dwarf spider characterized by the occurrence of a male dimorphism: the tuberosus male does not show any remarkable differentiation at the dorsal side of the carapace; the gibbosus morph on the contrary has a hunch behind the eye region, with a transversal groove densely clothed with hairs. These structures play an important function in the gustatorial courtship, being the uptake of secretions by the female from a body part of the male during courtship. Based on standardized survival experiments we show that tuberosus has a greater overall survival strength for different humidity levels than gibbosus. The two male morphs of O. gibbosus also have a different mating strategy: tuberosus as well as gibbosus copulate with virgin females, but gibbosus copulates significantly more with already inseminated females. Because of this strategy gibbosus secures its offspring notwithstanding the faster development, the longer adult life and the greater overall survival strength of tuberosus.© 2004 The Linnean Society of London, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2004, 82, 269–273.
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Keywords: Araneae; Linyphiidae; Oedothorax gibbosus; desiccation resistance; mESS; mating strategy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Research Group Terrestrial Ecology, Ghent University, Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

Publication date: 01 June 2004

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