Saturday, January 15, 2005


I was folding the baby's clothes yesterday when I saw a small, spiky-looking black spider struggling to get out of a fold in the fabric. I thought it was just a common house spider at first but then I saw the almost fluorescent red stripe on its back: a redback. Far out, that was close!
Anyway, I just looked redback spiders up on the, that is. As you might know, the female eats the male during sex:

The female begins to squirt digestive juices onto the male's abdomen while the first palp is inserted. If he is not too weak, he will manage to withdraw, and then insert the second palp. She will continue to 'digest' his abdomen. Most males do not survive this process, which seems to be unique to Latrodectus hasselti.

Surely a case of evolution gawn wrong...from the male's perspective anyway. And when you think about it, doesn't this mean each male can only ever mate once? Wonder how that affects their species?