In this article we’ll answer the questions do male spiders carry eggs and also do they lay eggs?! Researching this article threw up quite a few surprises that I think you’ll find interesting. But if you want the short explanation…
Do male spiders lay eggs? If you are curious about this question or have ever asked it, let me tell you that the answer is NO. Male spiders do not lay eggs. However, there are hermaphroditic species in the animal world, which possess reproductive organs related to both sexes and can produce male and female gametes.
Do male spiders carry eggs? No they don’t. Typically female spiders will care for the egg sacks in a fix place. However female wolf spiders will carry egg sacs around and bite into them to encourage the young to emerge.
That being said, there’s way more to it than you might think. The male spider plays a vital in the reproductive process and this article will explore that very question.
What Is The Role of The Male Spider in The Reproduction Process?
To clarify the answer to the question, Do male spiders lay eggs? It is the fact that spiders are not hermaphrodites; that is, male spiders do not lay eggs.
However, this egg-laying is related to the reproduction process of spiders. As for the multiplication of this species in the animal world, specifically in the arachnid, the functions to reproduce are also very particular and well defined.
The male spider’s function in the reproduction process, despite the great diversity of this group of animals and the multiplicity of reproductive rituals, is to provide the male gamete, which, when united with the female gamete, forms an arachnid embryo.
Do you want to know the arachnid rituals? Don’t miss this article; we will describe some of their characteristics and their sexual maturity to go deeper into the spiders’ reproduction process and the curiosities about their courtship, their copulation, until the birth of their offspring.
Before knowing how are the rituals and the reproduction process of spiders, it is necessary to know them in more detail, which differentiates them from other arthropods. These are the main characteristics of spiders:
Before knowing everything related to spider reproduction, including their rituals, it is necessary to know them in more detail. Among their main characteristics are:
Octopods: Spiders, like other arachnids, have 8 legs, a striking difference from other arthropods.
Pedipalps: Are appendages with sensory or locomotive function, located in the front part of the body. In males, they are more thickened since there is a copulatory organ called the bulb.
Terrestrial: All life stages of spiders are terrestrial. Very few are the spiders that spend time in the water, as it happens with the Argyroneta aquatica or better known as the European water spider.
Segmentation: Their bodies are divided into two parts: A frontal region or “head” known as a prosoma, and a kind of enlarged abdomen that houses the viscera of the animal, called an opisthosoma.
Rows: Structures located in the posterior part of the opisthosoma. They are responsible for producing silk threads, which they use to build spider webs to transport or protect their future generation.
Chelicerae: they are elongated nozzles finished off in a nail; with them, they inoculate poison to their prey.
Carnivores: In general, spiders feed by extracting the internal fluids of insects. Others add flower or vegetable nectar to their diet. Until now, the typical and only representative of this herbivorous species is the Bagheera kiplingi.
Predators: Spiders are voracious predators. They have several strategies to obtain their food: traps, nets, camouflage, etc.
Poisonous: Once they catch their prey, they inoculate it with toxic substances to kill or paralyze it. Besides, the poison usually contains substances that disintegrate the victim’s tissues, taking it to a liquid state and then sucking it out. Although an exception to the rule is the family Uloboridae, which lacks poisonous glands. Only about 200 species have venom that can be harmful to humans.
Adaptability: to adapt to life on earth, arachnids have internal respiratory systems, such as the trachea or the lung.
They are oviparous: usually, spiders lay eggs, which hatch into immature arachnids similar to adults. However, some species are born directly from the mother (ovoviviparous).
If you’re enjoying this post on male and female spiders, checkout my article do male spiders spin webs?!
Different Types of Spiders
The similarities between them can make it challenging to identify the type of spider we have seen. Here are 12 of the best known:
- 1. Corner Spider or Violinist
- 2. Red Back Spider
- 3. Wolf Spider
- 4. Black Widow Spider
- 5. Hobo Spider
- 6. Golden Silk or Banana Spider
- 7. Jumping Spider
- 8. Camel Spider
- 9. Tarantula
- 10. Goliath bird-eating Spider
- 11. Tiger Spider
- 12. Brazilian Wandering Spider
Sexual Maturity of Spiders
The morphology of spiders is very particular; in their abdomen, they have organs of various kinds, including the genital system. The largest spiders reach sexual maturity and, with it, their reproductive capacity, generally after four years of life.
The smaller species have a shorter life cycle, so they also usually mature sexually earlier.
Something to keep in mind is that many groups of spiders, sexual dimorphism is evident. The females are usually more developed than males.
An example of this is “cobweb-building spiders,” which, being sedentary, spend much of their time hunting in one place. It is there that the males go to look for them by following the trail of their pheromones.
However, in active predatory spider species, sexual dimorphism is insignificant. Between females and males, the size is similar, although with possible differences in color.
Before copulation begins, both breed partners must be certain that they are compatible. Therefore, they perform various marital rituals. There are species where the male does a kind of “dance” to pretend and attract the female.
This is the case with the “peacock spider” (Maratusspp); the males raise some of their legs and make their body vibrate, displaying their striking drawings.
In some spider species, males use a nuptial gift as a strategy to ingratiate themselves with females. For example, in the Pisaura mirabilis species, the males wrap the gift (insects) in silk before offering it to the females.
Sometimes they also employ the strategy of deception by providing them with a silk wrap with nothing edible. If the fraud is discovered, the male runs the risk that she will not want to mate. In the latter strategy, cheating males often don’t put much effort into copulation.
Finally, some species of spiders perform the courtship by emitting sounds or shrillness. Males have been observed hitting their limbs against each other or the ground, producing a kind of “song.” These sounds are not naturally audible by humans.
A curious and surprising fact is the male’s ability to detect if the female is of the same species and if she is willing to mate. To do this, he must keep his distance and not rush into contact with her.
Copulation of Spiders
Copulation is the key to understanding the breeding process of spiders. When the female chooses the right male, he takes her by the chelicerae, thanks to the forceps he presents on the pedipalps.
In this way, he can lift her over him and access his genital pore, introducing his sperm through his sexual organ, which is at the same time his pedipalp. This information is illustrative since the copulative position varies between species.
Females can go through several courtships and decide to copulate with several males, keeping the sperm of all their partners in their reproductive system. The males’ order is not so relevant, but the sperm that each contributes is decisive.
Besides, females, during copulation, usually emit sounds or shrillness. It is not verified, so there is a suspicion that its function is to enhance or limit male sexual activity.
In this sense, the males that reach the females the most are more likely to fertilize more eggs. We see this behavior in the Physocyclusglobosus or cellar spider.
Sexual cannibalism is a behavior that sometimes occurs before or after intercourse. This action is common to observe in these sexually dimorphic species.
Some males have acquired skills in the face of cannibalism; for example, the male of the nursery spider (Pisaurina mira) covers his partner with silk before copulation.
In line with the above, it is good to mention that this does not usually happen in all cases, and sometimes it can be before or during copulation.
An example of this occurs with the black widow spider (Latrodectus mactans). However, the vast majority of times, this does not usually happen; the male can live on the same web for some time without suffering an attack.
However, in the red-backed spider (Latrodectus hasselti), cannibalism is more frequent, since, in more than 61%, the male is killed by his female partner.
Spiders and Their Eggs
The females lay their eggs after a few days to several weeks after copulation. Some species cover their clutch with a cocoon or silk wrap and select a quite safe place to leave them, making it easier to monitor and protect the eggs until they hatch.
Others choose to carry the cocoon on their bodies, thus preventing it from being attacked by other animals. A representative of this group is the Pisaura mirabilis that carries the eggs until their young are born.
There are also species where the females perform various egg-laying on different days. Of these species, some after the eggs of the first clutch hatch, they carry out the second in order to have all their eggs under control.
So if you’re wondering: how many eggs can a spider lay? A single spider can carry thousands of eggs, even up to 3,000 eggs in her sac. If you are also wondering: do males help in the care of eggs? The answer is NO to protect himself from the females’ aggressiveness and not to become victims of cannibalism.
How Do Spiders Hatch?
When the time comes, all the eggs of each clutch hatch simultaneously, that is, all the nymphs are born simultaneously, which remains together for a specific time. When they hatch, they are miniature copies of the adult species.
Some species of spiders can stay in the nest for about 40 days. There are species of spiders whose females feed their young. Some of them could be classified as the best mothers in the animal world.
And an excellent example of this is the Toxeus magnus or jumping spider, which feeds its nymphs with nutritious droplets.
Others transport their eggs to all places until they are born, an example, the spider Pardosa sp, where the mother not only transports the eggs but once the spider babies emerge, she keeps them attached to her until they manage to become independent after a few days.
Time To Hatch From Spider Eggs
The eggs’ hatching time depends on each species and other factors such as climate or temperature. There are species in which the eggs hatch when the conditions are conducive to it. Once the laying is done, the hatching can happen in one week or four months when some situation delays it.
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