Communication during copulation in the sex-role reversed wolf spider Allocosa brasiliensis: Female shakes for soliciting new ejaculations?

Behav Processes. 2015 Jul:116:62-8. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2015.05.005. Epub 2015 May 8.


Traditional studies on sexual communication have focused on the exchange of signals during courtship. However, communication between the sexes can also occur during or after copulation. Allocosa brasiliensis is a wolf spider that shows a reversal in typical sex roles and of the usual sexual size dimorphism expected for spiders. Females are smaller than males and they are the roving sex that initiates courtship. Occasional previous observations suggested that females performed body shaking behaviors during copulation. Our objective was to analyze if female body shaking is associated with male copulatory behavior in A. brasiliensis, and determine if this female behavior has a communicatory function in this species. For that purpose, we performed fine-scaled analysis of fifteen copulations under laboratory conditions. We video-recorded all the trials and looked for associations between female and male copulatory behaviors. The significant difference between the time before and after female shaking, in favor of the subsequent ejaculation is analyzed. We discuss if shaking could be acting as a signal to accelerate and motivate palpal insertion and ejaculation, and/or inhibiting male cannibalistic tendencies in this species.

Keywords: Communication; Mating; Sex roles; Sexual selection; Signal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Communication
  • Animals
  • Cannibalism
  • Copulation / physiology*
  • Ejaculation / physiology*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Motivation / physiology
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Spiders