The orb-web spider genus Argiope (Araneae) offers an excellent opportunity to detect cryptic female choice and to identify the species-specific traits that might lead to its evolution and maintenance. All studied species of the genus Argiope are characterized by low male mating rates. While males of some species are strictly mono- or bigynous, others plastically switch between these two strategies. All studied species show sexual cannibalism during copulation. Generally, males die after their second copulation, but the probability of surviving the first copulation differs considerably between species and so does copulation duration. Males of most species break off pieces of their genitalia during copulation that act as mating plugs, but how often this occurs and how effective these plugs are is highly variable. Females that mate multiply can influence the relative paternity success of males through their partial control of copulation duration and their likely control of sperm storage. There is evidence that females cryptically favor small males over large ones, unrelated males over siblings, and males that courted over those that do not. We will sketch variation within and between species in mating systems and related traits, and we will discuss how this relates to cryptic female choice. We will review the existing evidence for cryptic female choice and suggest future avenues in elucidating possible mechanisms that facilitate cryptic female choice and the cues that females may base their choices on.
|Title of host publication||Cryptic Female Choice in Arthropods|
|Subtitle of host publication||Patterns, Mechanisms and Prospects|
|Editors||Alfredo V. Peretti, Anita Aisenberg|
|Place of Publication||Cham, Switzerland|
|Publisher||Springer, Springer Nature|
|Number of pages||23|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2015|