Here goes nothing: Male spiders found giving females silk-wrapped zilch

Here goes nothing: Male spiders found giving females silk-wrapped zilch

How do you let your crush know you’re interested in taking things to the next level? If you’re a male spider, you may give the female in question a gift as a token of your affection. It may be nutritious food or inedible leftovers — sometimes wrapped in silk, sometimes not. Because of the role these offerings play in mating, scientists have come to call them “nuptial gifts.” Nuptial gift rituals are relatively common among both insects and spiders and can affect a male’s mating success. However, not all gifts are what they appear to be. A recent study in the Journal of Arachnology is the first to record the spider Paradossenus longipes using silk-wrapped nuptial gifts in its courtship ritual. This discovery not only adds a new genus to the three already known to make silk-wrapped nuptial gifts, but these South American spiders stand for the unique contents of their gifts. Some males presented females with beautifully wrapped balls of … nothing. Empty gifts — a behavior that has never before been described in spiders. Male, bottom, and female Paradossenus longipes spiders hold an empty nuptial gift, indicated by the arrow, during courtship. Image courtesy of Maria J. Albo. “Empty nuptial gifts are a unique and amazing finding in the animal kingdom,” says Maria Albo, assistant professor at Uruguay’s University of the Republic and the Clemente Estable Biological Research Institute, and a lead researcher on the study. “As far as I know, there is a single example in insects…This article was originally published on Mongabay

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