Mgr. Lenka Sentenská, Ph.D.
prof. Mgr. Stano Pekár, Ph.D.
Philodromus cespitum (Walckenaer, 1802) ES
Female mating history can have a strong effect on male fertilization success. Although males often prefer to mate with virgin females, they often also engage with mated females. As the intensity of sperm competition can differ among mated females, males are expected to evolve means to identify their status. In spiders, males often use female silk to gather information about female quality. Males of many spider species deposit mating plugs into female genitalia to hinder further copulations. We tested whether males of the foliage‐dwelling, plug‐producing spider Philodromus cespitum, which is an important natural enemy of pests, discriminate between females of different mating status and whether they can determine the extent of genital plugging in mated females solely on the basis of cues gained from deposited female silk. We presented males with draglines of females that varied in either mating status (virgin vs. mated), the extent of plugging (small vs. big plug), or the age of the plug (fresh vs. old plug) and examined their mate preferences.  Additionally, we tested whether males were attracted to volatile cues produced by female bodies. Our experiments revealed that males preferred draglines of virgin females to those of mated females, and mated females with small plugs to those with large plugs. They were also attracted to female volatile cues. This study suggests that males are able to extract fine‐scale information on mating status from female draglines.
Sentenská L. & Pekár S. (2019): Silk- and volatile-based male mate choice in the genital plug-producing spider. Ethology 125 (9): 620–627. DOI: 10.1111/eth.12913