Some Spiders Tie up Females Before Mating to Avoid Being Eaten, Study Shows

The male spiders also bite the female's feet in an attempt to immobilize them.
Loukia Papadopoulos

If you think waiting four days to call back a potential love interest is torture, you may want to avoid this article. It turns out that some types of spiders have some very violent mating rituals, as reported by Newsweek.


Researchers from the Czech Republic observed the Thanatus fabricii species of spiders and found that the males actually bite and tie up the females before mating in order to avoid being cannibalized. Talk about a mating ritual!

Of course, this specific behavior is not a common sight—even among different spider species—being exclusive to Thanatus fabricii spiders according to a study published in the journal Animal Behaviour. "Spiders sometimes spend hours luring females to court them, but these guys just go and bite," Lenka Sentenská, study author from Masaryk University, told New Scientist.

The process goes as follows: the male spider bites the female's legs. She then lifts them up toward her body to protect herself.

Once in this position, the male spider binds the female's legs and body with his silk, rendering her incapable of moving. The male then proceeds to inseminate her.

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The researchers also reported that once mating was finished, the females would often stay in the same position without moving for a while before freeing themselves of the binding silk. The females then seemed to have a harder time hunting meaning the whole process may have resulted in some lasting damage.

Before you go and think that male spiders are rather sadistic, it should be noted that this whole ritual is actually undertaken so they can avoid being eaten by their female counterparts, a practice that is quite common with other types of spiders and insects.

Even with these measures, the scientists found that in 11% of cases the females still ate their male counterparts before copulation. And you thought dating was complicated!

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