Female black widow spider mates with eats multiple males

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The mirabilis widow (Latrodectus mirabilis)

Ken Jones/University of Toronto at Scarborough

A South American black widow spider starts biting, wrapping up eating her willing partner before they have finished mating – then mates with (eats) another male.

“Usually there are some advantages to the male for being eaten during mating, like longer copulations as well as decreased female receptivity to future males,” says Luciana Baruffaldi at the University of Toronto, Scarborough, Canada. “In this case, though, we don’t yet know how the male benefits from sexual cannibalism.”

Despite a reputation for eating their mates, …

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