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Fitness is important among spiders to have sex

Fitness is important among spiders to have sex London, Feb 20 : A big body and gaudy colours aren't enough to ensure a male spider that he gets sex, as biologists claim that a golden orb-web spider needs a bit of vigour too.

Michael Kasumovic and Frank Seebacher, of the University of NSW and University of Sydney respectively, said that nature show lovers might have concluded bright colours, larger weaponry (claws, teeth and horns etc) and size ensure a male's mating success.

But after investigating what happens when rivals with similar physical traits face off around a female spider's web, the pair said that size isn't everything, and fitness is the key, the Daily Express reported.

Their investigation of metabolic rates in mating success in golden orb-weaver spiders found the mating winners of size-matched contests had more mitochondria to produce energy.

"Our results provide some of the strongest evidence that link a biochemical pathway to a behavioural trait that determines fitness, thereby showing that size really isn't everything," they said.

They conducted trials using the golden orb-web spider (Nephila plumipes).

In the golden orb group the female is much larger than the males, who live around the edges of her web waiting for a chance to mate. Many get cannibalised too.

The spider who can get closest to her on the web is most likely to become a dad - and to be eaten.

In the nine trials using 12 females and 108 males, two males were eaten, one went missing after tests and 31 did not settle on a web.

The findings are published in the Biology Letters journal. (ANI)