Intraspecific body size variation and allometry of genitalia in the orb-web spider—Argiope lobata

Chathuranga Dharmarathne*, Donald James McLean, Marie E. Herberstein, Jutta M. Schneider*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The current consensus is that sexual selection is responsible for the rapid and diverse evolution of genitalia, with several mutually exclusive mechanisms under debate, including non-antagonistic, antagonistic and stabilizing mechanisms. We used the orb-web spider, Argiope lobata (Araneidae), as a study model to quantify the allometric relationship between body size and genitalia, and to test for any impact of genital structures on male mating success or outcome in terms of copulation duration, leg loss or cannibalism. Our data do not support the ‘one-size-fits-all’ hypothesis that predicts a negative allometric slope between genitalia and body size. Importantly, we measured both male and female genitalia, and there was no sex specific pattern in allometric slopes. Unexpectedly, we found no predictor for reproductive success as indicated by copulation duration, cannibalism, and leg loss.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16413
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Early online date28 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Allometry
  • Argiope lobata
  • Evolution of genitalia
  • Mating success
  • Sexual selection


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