Foreleg autotomy reduces mating success of male Schizocosa ocreata wolf spiders

Phillip W. Taylor, J. Andrew Roberts, Anne E. Wignall, George W. Uetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Autotomy is a taxonomically widespread antipredator tactic that allows animals to escape life-threatening situations. Opposing the benefits of survival, animals that have autotomized appendages may later suffer reduced ability in important determinants of fitness. Male Schizocosa ocreata wolf spiders use their forelegs during courtship for visual displays, for tactile courtship, and to defend against attacks by females. In nature they are often found missing one, and sometimes both, forelegs. We found that autotomy of one foreleg has little effect on male ability to mate with virgin females, but that autotomy of both forelegs causes a significant reduction in mating success. Among males that mated, autotomy of one or both forelegs did not influence latency until mating, period spent mounted, probability that his mate would accept a subsequent suitor, or probability that his mate would kill a subsequent suitor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193-202
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008


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