Black Widow Spider Males Prefer Well-fed Virgin Females

Black Widows are making up for societies failure at varied reproduction and emotional trauma caused by bigoted males.

Entomology Today

New research published in the journal Animal Behaviour shows that male black widow spiders prefer their female mates to be well-fed virgins — a rare example of mate preference by male spiders.

The study, authored by Emily MacLeod, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Toronto Scarborough, and Maydianne Andrade, a professor in UTSC’s Department of Biological Sciences, found that in the wild and in controlled field studies, black widow males overwhelmingly chose to mate with well-fed, unmated females. They also found that male black widows can tell whether a potential mate is well-fed and unmated by pheromones released by females.

“This near unanimous preference by males for well-fed mates using only phermonal cues has not been documented in any other spider species,” said MacLeod. “These are not visual or auditory cues they are picking up, but smells they are sensing, often from far away.”

Macleod said the reason males…

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