Coercive copulation in two sexually cannibalistic camel-spider species (Arachnida: Solifugae)

Authors


  • Editor: Virginia Hayssen

Correspondence
Stano Pekár, Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of Sciences, Masaryk University, Kotlářská 2, 611 37, Brno, Czech Republic.
Email: pekar@sci.muni.cz

Abstract

Males can overcome female resistance to mating either by using luring behaviour or through sexual coercion. We studied mating behaviour in two sexually cannibalistic camel-spider species Galeodes caspius subfuscus (Galeodidae) and Gluvia dorsalis (Desiidae), to determine the presence of luring and/or coercive traits. Several behavioural features demonstrate coercive mating in the two species: (1) males used strength or fast movement to grab a female; (2) males prevented female counter-attack and escape; (3) males injured the female during coercive copulations; (4) females struggled to interrupt mating. The mode of mating differed considerably. In Galeodes, but not in Gluvia, males induced an immobile state in females. Despite the presence of coercive mating that caused injuries to females, Galeodes males also engaged in courtship behaviours before copulation (stroking with pedipalps) and during copulation (stroking and tapping). The occurrence of pre-copulatory courtship in coercively mating males has not been reported before. In Gluvia, coercive traits suggest that forced copulation is the exclusive mating strategy. Coercive mating strategies in camel-spiders may have evolved as an anti-predation strategy, as sexual cannibalism occurred in c. 40% of all sexual interactions.

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