Wondering about how tarantulas know how to mate.

Xenohunt

Arachnopeon
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May 18, 2016
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After an interesting conversation with a friend, we are wondering how tarantulas exactly mate in the wild.
It seems like a male somehow knows a female of the same species. How do you think that is?
Do you think in the wild they actually mistake other species and fail at reproducing? Or maybe the female knows the tapping pattern of the male down so well (probably why they eat them so quick because why not)?

It is still impressive that they just instantly understand what to do. What are your thoughts?
 

Arachnomaniac19

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A male doesn't know a female of the same species per say. Pheromones can also be the same within two different species. The reason why two species usually don't mate is due to the difference in sex organs and geographic seperation (think of ring species). When they do mate the hybrids are usually infertile or the sac isn't viable. When it is viable genes passed through are usually going to be contained in that one specific area. In some cases such as Homo sapiens and H. (s.) neanderthalis the offspring carry a bit of the other species' genes to all/most of one or both species. Although this isn't super common, it isn't rare either (IMHO).
Considering all non-sessile species who reproduce sexually have the instinct to reproduce successfully, I don't think it's all that impressive. I do find it fascinating, however.
 

sasker

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In some cases such as Homo sapiens and H. (s.) neanderthalis the offspring carry a bit of the other species' genes to all/most of one or both species.
Proof of this is still visible in some humans today! :troll:

I was also told once that the 'foreplay' of the spiders (i.e. the tapping on the ground in a certain rhythm) is aimed at deciding if the male is up to the female's standards for reproduction. So if a male fails to please the lady for whatever reason, he will get attacked/eaten. This makes it very unlikely that species of different genera manage to breed. Or so I have been told.
 

GreyPsyche

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Well it all starts with a few drinks in high school and someone brings the Ganga...they figure everything out pretty quick.
 

Xenohunt

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A male doesn't know a female of the same species per say. Pheromones can also be the same within two different species. The reason why two species usually don't mate is due to the difference in sex organs and geographic seperation (think of ring species). When they do mate the hybrids are usually infertile or the sac isn't viable. When it is viable genes passed through are usually going to be contained in that one specific area. In some cases such as Homo sapiens and H. (s.) neanderthalis the offspring carry a bit of the other species' genes to all/most of one or both species. Although this isn't super common, it isn't rare either (IMHO).
Considering all non-sessile species who reproduce sexually have the instinct to reproduce successfully, I don't think it's all that impressive. I do find it fascinating, however.
They can smell the correct female? That makes a lot of sense. I am guessing they use smell to find their way back to their caves or whatever after exploring?
Thank you for the reply.
 

Tanner Dzula

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to be honest, i think mating and by extension, reproducing is the one thing that NOBODY needs to be taught or even really "know" how to do.

i mean. other then us humans, i don't think any single creature alive has taken like a sex ed class, or been given instructions on how to do it. id assume just like any other arachnid/insect/invertebrae with a complex mating/reproduction process just kind of "knows" how to naturally. thankfully we have instincts for that type of thing.

as far as the exact species thing, i mean i know they don't see well, but id assume two different species of T, while looking similar to us, would be like us looking at a Chimpanzee or orangutan and wondering if we could mate with it(obviously i know our brains are infinitely more complex and we have a much stronger bases for logical and analytical thinking but you get the point)

I'm sure they have natural ways to tell, some probably being pheromones, the tapping they display, and even I'm sure their limited vision and such helps too. i don't know for sure but, you know, they obviously been getting i right so far ;)
 

Xenohunt

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May 18, 2016
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to be honest, i think mating and by extension, reproducing is the one thing that NOBODY needs to be taught or even really "know" how to do.

i mean. other then us humans, i don't think any single creature alive has taken like a sex ed class, or been given instructions on how to do it. id assume just like any other arachnid/insect/invertebrae with a complex mating/reproduction process just kind of "knows" how to naturally. thankfully we have instincts for that type of thing.
I am curious specifically with tarantulas. Like the science behind it. I understand it is all instinct, but it is amazing how it just works!
 

Arachnomaniac19

Arachnolord
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Aug 23, 2014
Messages
654
to be honest, i think mating and by extension, reproducing is the one thing that NOBODY needs to be taught or even really "know" how to do.

i mean. other then us humans, i don't think any single creature alive has taken like a sex ed class, or been given instructions on how to do it. id assume just like any other arachnid/insect/invertebrae with a complex mating/reproduction process just kind of "knows" how to naturally. thankfully we have instincts for that type of thing.

as far as the exact species thing, i mean i know they don't see well, but id assume two different species of T, while looking similar to us, would be like us looking at a Chimpanzee or orangutan and wondering if we could mate with it(obviously i know our brains are infinitely more complex and we have a much stronger bases for logical and analytical thinking but you get the point)

I'm sure they have natural ways to tell, some probably being pheromones, the tapping they display, and even I'm sure their limited vision and such helps too. i don't know for sure but, you know, they obviously been getting i right so far ;)
Bonobos kind of take sex ed.
 

Ungoliant

Malleus Aranearum
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It seems like a male somehow knows a female of the same species. How do you think that is?
A combination of factors:
  • separation of geography or habitat type that makes it less likely for different species to interbreed
  • behavioral cues, such as courtship rituals
  • pheromones
  • Entelegynes (the larger branch of true spiders) have more complex epigynes that make it difficult for females to mate with males of another species (analogous to a lock with the correct species' palps being the key)
 

viper69

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I am curious specifically with tarantulas. Like the science behind it. I understand it is all instinct, but it is amazing how it just works!
Ts use pheromones, it's believed or a fact (I forget which) that females put pheromones on webbing. Those molecules are sensed by specific chemoreceptive proteins.
 

Ungoliant

Malleus Aranearum
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it's believed or a fact (I forget which) that females put pheromones on webbing
A fact. According to Biology of Spiders, spiders lace their silk with pheromones. (For example, the draglines of mature female wolf spiders help males find them.)

Biology of Spiders said:
Pheromones, which are emitted a few days after the last molt, often play a role in helping the male find the opposite sex. Male araneids apparently can recognize the female pheromone chemotactually on the web and also seem to be guided by olfaction, at least for short distances of about 60-80 cm. It is noteworthy that female spiders can also detect pheromones. Black widows (Latrodectus hesperus), for instance, show courtship behavior in response to male silk. In the related species L. revivensis, females were observed to react aggressively toward the silk of conspecific females.
 
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viper69

ArachnoGod
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A fact. According to Biology of Spiders, spiders lace their silk with pheromones. For example, the draglines of mature female wolf spiders help males find them.
I remember reading that now. At the moment of typing I didn't feel like committing to answer that could misinform. Also, there's always someone on the forum to tell you "you're wrong" as if it's some merit badge for them haha.
 

AphonopelmaTX

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There's plenty of free reading material out there on this subject if you search Google Scholar with "tarantula mating" or "tarantula pheromone".

Start here...

Costa, Fernando G., Bruno Curbelo, and Fernando Pérez-Miles. "Long-term persistence and water resistance of female sex cues in the tarantula Eupalaestrus weijenberghi (Araneae: Theraphosidae)." Arachnology 16.9 (2015): 311-313. Link

This one is particularly interesting as it tests courtship receptiveness between two different species. Those who get bent out of shape on pairing tarantulas of two different species may want to stay away from this one. :)

Costa, Fernando G., et al. "Is more better? Sexual confusion during courtship between two sympatric and synchronic tarantulas: Acanthoscurria suina and Eupalaestrus weijenberghi." Zoologia (Curitiba) 30.5 (2013): 577-580. Link
 
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