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Keywords:

  • Schizocosa malitiosa;
  • wolf spider;
  • female reluctance;
  • partial copulations

Abstract

Mated females of the wolf spider Schizocosa malitiosa are frequently refractory to further copulations. Copulation consists of two successive behavioural patterns: pattern I (PI) and pattern II (PII). During PI males make multiple consecutive insertions with each palp, and in PII males alternate the use of palps after each insertion until dismounting. As both patterns are inseminatory, another function – such as generating female reluctance – is suggested for this complex behaviour. Here we test experimentally whether female spiders mated only with PI, or only with PII, are reluctant to re-mate. Each copulating male was interrupted immediately after the end of PI (phase A), and the same male was instantly exposed to a second virgin female. After re-mounting, the male initially performed a brief recapitulation of PI followed by PII (both together considered as phase B). For testing female sexual reluctance, females were exposed to a second male 3 days after the partial mating, but whenever the mounting occurred it was interrupted. Females were raised and progeny was counted. Phase-A-mated females were more reluctant to re-mating than phase-B-mated females, but their respective progeny was similar. We suggest that female reluctance is caused by sperm-associated substances transferred during PI.