Observations on the Mating Habits of some Web-spinning Spiders.



  • 1A tactile, display may occur in web-spinners analogous to the visual display of the Attidæ and Lycosidæ and having the same function (e. g. Amaurobius similis).
  • 2The female may be ready for the male on his approach and show him no hostility (usually the case with species with a short mating period); the tactile display is now reduced and has a kind of trigger-action. If, in these cases, a female must be induced to come out of a retreat or onto special threads, the tactile display is more marked.
  • 3Females usually attack males after mating, but in some species tolerate them, when, if food is plentiful, a common life may occur.
  • 4In some species, males react to threads left by the female and even to those of another male. Possibly threads of males (often spun in female's webs) stimulate females, which would be a factor in the common life of species such as Dictyna, and may be a part of the courtship in other cases.
  • 5All females remain motionless during copulation and some assume a rigid cataleptic condition, induced probably by the male's pre-coition caresses or by the introduction of his style into the epigynum.

In conclusion, I wish to express my thanks to Professor J. S. Huxley for much valuable advice and encouragement with regard to this paper, to Mr. W. S. Bristowe for allowing me to add his notes to my own and for many helpful criticisms, and to Dr. A. R. Jackson, who has very kindly classified many of my specimens from time to time.